Learn to cook outside the can with a black beans recipe that starts with high-quality dried beans.
Michael Mina uses Black Valentine heirloom beans sourced from Northern California’s Community Grains, and it’s definitely worth seeking out local, family-farmed beans to take this dish to the next level. Chorizo brings smoky spice and richness to the beans, while charred poblano chiles add moderate heat and depth of flavor. Assertive oregano complements the earthiness of the black beans, while the lime crema adds both creamy richness and a citrusy splash of acidity that brightens the entire dish.
- Plan ahead. The night before you plan on preparing the beans, place them in a non-reactive bowl, cover with water by about 3 or 4 inches and soak them overnight. Soaking beans allows them to absorb liquid slowly, so they cook evenly without splitting or losing their skins.
- Hot or not? Adding hot sauce at the end of the cooking process gives the beans a spicy bite that’s more pronounced than it would’ve been if you added the hot sauce at the beginning of the cooking process.
- Choose your own texture. You can either leave the black beans plump and whole or purée half of them to add a smooth, creamier texture.
This tool is one we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Tweezers. Michael calls these stainless steel, tweezer-like tongs “fingers.” They handle all sorts of jobs that require precision, and they’re perfect for pulling seeds out of poblano chiles.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
- Large pot with lid
- Wooden spoon
- Small baking sheet with rack
- Strainer over bowl
- Chef’s knife
- Rubber spatula
- Plastic wrap
For the Black Beans:
- ½ lb. dry Community Grains Black Valentine Beans
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 poblano peppers
- 4 ounces of dried chorizo, cut into 1⁄8-inch thin by ½-inch wide pieces
- ½ of a large white onion
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Chili-Agave Marinade
- 3 oregano sprigs
- Lime wedges, to season and garnish
- Couple leaves cilantro
For the Lime Crema:
Yield: 4-6 servings
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes *plus soaking overnight
Active Time: 40 minutes
For the Black Beans:
- Sift through beans to make sure that there are no small pebbles. Rinse beans well under cold water.
- Cover the beans with cold water and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. After soaking, strain the black beans in a strainer over a bowl.
- Heat a heavy bottomed (3-quart) sauce pot over high heat. Cut the tops off of the poblano peppers, pull out the stems and seeds and discard them. Add a little grapeseed oil, and then the poblanos to the hot pot and char on all sides, lowering the heat to medium, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and place peppers in a bowl with plastic wrap placed tightly around the top for about 10-15 minutes. This will help the skin of the poblanos peel off easily. Peel the skin and dice flesh into ½-inch pieces.
- In the same pot used to char the poblanos, add the chorizo to the hot pot and begin to brown and release some of the fat. Once a little of the fat releases from the chorizo, add the onions and garlic and sweat for about 3-4 minutes. Add the beans to the sauce pot, along with the poblano peppers and stir to combine. Cover the beans by 1 inch with water. Bring to a simmer (not a boil) and immediately reduce to a simmer.
- Partly cover the beans with a lid and continue simmering on low heat gently for 1 1/2-2 hours. Add additional water if needed to keep the water at about the same level as the beans.
- Once the beans are tender, turn the stove down from simmer to low and stir in the chili marinade, oregano sprigs and salt — stirring occasionally. Taste and season as necessary. Place the lid back on the pot and let the oregano steep in the beans for 5 minutes. Blend 1 ½ cups of cooked beans with ½ cup bean liquid until pureed, for about 3-4 minutes; set aside as a separate condiment for the tacos.
For the Lime Crema:
- Season the sour cream with salt and add in a spoonful of chili marinade (depending on how spicy you would like the crema). Stir in lime and taste. Taste to ensure there is enough spice from the marinade and acidity from the lime to balance out the richness of the cream. Feel free to add more of any of the ingredients to achieve the desired balance.
- Remove the oregano stems with tweezers. Blend 1 ½ cups of cooked beans with ½ cup bean liquid until puréed, for about 3-4 minutes; set aside as a separate condiment for the tacos.
- To serve beans, scoop them out with a ladle pouring out most of the liquid and place in a bowl. Top with Lime Crema, a couple of leaves of both oregano, cilantro and lime zest. Do the same with the bean purée, Lime Crema, oregano, cilantro leaves and lime zest.
Chicken and black bean soup
For a simple and delicious soup, stir the black beans into hot chicken stock, add cooked shredded chicken and sautéed Swiss chard, garnishing the dish with oregano. Serve with grilled bread that has been rubbed with garlic.