The great thing about the Instant Pot is that for procrastinators like me, you can get the same flavor of traditional frijoles negros (black beans) without having to remember to soak them overnight and cook them all day. I mean seriously…..I ain’t got time for that! This recipe is a mash up of my families recipe and other great black bean recipes that I have had back home in Miami. A lot of the seasonings are added after the dish is pressure cooked, so you can adjust the amounts to your taste.
Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans
Recipe by Lana Horruitiner-Perez and Horruitiner Family
1 lb dried black beans
1 1/2 green bell pepper, diced fine
1 yellow onion, diced fine
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbls Olive Oil
1/2 cup diced Tocino (This is Spanish Bacon. Cuban food uses it a lot. However, you can use regular bacon, ham hock, pancietta, etc. My daughter doesn’t eat red meat so I use turkey bacon.)OR 1 Extra Tbl Olive Oil instead of Tocino or Bacon
1 tsp Salt
5 cups Water
1 Packet Sazon (Sazon is a packet of spices used in Latin cooking. You can usually find this in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores. However, you can make a substitute by combining 1 Tbl each of Coriander, Cumin, Tumeric, Garlic Powder, and Salt. Use 1 1/2 teaspoons of this mix to equal one packet)
1 Tbls Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 Tbl packed Brown Sugar
1 Tbl Goya Adobo (You can find this online or in the Latin section of most markets. You can substitute by making your own mix by combining 1 Tbl Garlic Powder, Salt, Cumin, and 1 tsp Pepper then use 1 Tbl of this mix)
1/2 tsp White Vinegar
-Rinse and pick through the black beans. I like to use a colander over a bowl. Don;t over rinse them though or the coating will start to come off. Drain and set aside.
-Add 1 Tbl of Olive Oil to the Instant Pot and press “Saute”. When the Olive Oil gets hot, add the Tocino. Stir occasionally as it browns. You will get brown bits stuck tot he bottom of the pot. This is exactly what you want! It will take about 4 mins. **If you want to make it vegetarian, add 2 Tbl Olive Oil and skip to the part where you add the Onions and Peppers**
-Once it’s browned, remove the meat from the Instant Pot and put aside to use later.
-Turn off Instant Pot then immediately turn it back on and press SAUTE and then ADJUST until it’s on LOW. (Some Instant Pots just can just hit the SAUTE function repeatedly and cycle through the options until you get to LOW.)
-Quickly add the other 1 Tbl of Olive Oil and then add the diced onions, green peppers and 1 tsp salt to help extract the water from the veggies. As the onion and peppers cook, you will notice that the liquid from the veggies will start loosening the brown bits, or fond, from the bottom of the pot. As you stir, scrape the bits up. You are looking for the onions and peppers to get soft and a little brown. (If you are just using oil and not Tocino or bacon, it will not get as brown. That’s ok.) However, if the pot starts looking a little dry and the veggies start to get too brown before they get soft add 1/8 cup of water to the pot.
-Stir in the garlic and only cook for 30 seconds.
-Turn “OFF” the Instant Pot.
-Stir in the rinsed and drained black beans, 5 cups of water, packet of Sazon, 1 Tbl Sugar, 1 tsp salt, and the 1 tsp Olive Oil. Stir these ingredients together. Lock the top onto the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to “SEAL”, and then Pressure Cook on High for 45-50 mins depending if you like your beans with a little firmer texture or really soft.
-Once it is done, allow it to Natural Release which just means don’t do anything until the pin drops by itself.
-Once all the pressure is released, open the lid and add back the Tocino if using. Stir in 1 Tbl Brown Sugar, 1/2 tsp Vinegar, and 1 Tbl Adobo. Taste and add salt to your liking. I ususally find I need to add a heaping 1/2 Tbl of salt, but it’s completely up to you.
-At this point it’s perfect and ready to serve. However, I like my black beans a little thicker. If you want your beans thicker as well, take out 1/2 cup of the beans with just a little of the liquid and put into a small bowl. Use a fork and mash the beans until it forms a thick paste.
-Add this paste back to the pot and serve.
* Black beans freeze really well. I like to freeze them in 2 cup portions and just defrost and reheat either in the microwave or on the stove.