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Venezuelan-style Black Beans

Submitted by:

Jose Hernandez



Country of Origin:


Cook time:

2 to 3 hours




35 ounces black beans
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large onion
1 medium green pepper
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)
1 sprig coriander
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or olive oil)
3 strips of bacon
2 legs of pig (*) test


1. The night before, clean the beans (*) thoroughly and place them in a container with water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate. The water should cover beans at least an inch and a half above the grain. Stir the beans, and remove any that float. Then cover the container and let the beans sit overnight.
2. The next day, drain the beans and rinse them well with plenty of water. Place the beans in a clean pot and cover them with water, and place the pot on the stove on medium heat.(**)
3. Next, seed the green pepper, cut it into four pieces, and add it to the water. As the pepper begins to soften, add the pig's feet to the water.
4. In a separate pan, brown the diced bacon, chopped onion, and crushed garlic in oil until they are a golden brown (almost burned).
5. Add this mixture to the beans along with the cumin, and reduce the heat slightly. (Do not boil.)
6. Cook the beans for 1 to 2 hours or until they reach the preferred softness.
7. Once the beans are softened, add salt. Do not add salt to beans early or they will not they soften.
8. Let the beans simmer until the broth thickens and they absorb the taste of the seasoning. Replenish some of the evaporated water during the cooking process. It is always good to have some broth in the pan because that's how the beans stay tasty.
9. About 10 minutes before removing the beans from the heat, add the minced cilantro.

What makes this recipe special?

This is a traditional dish in my country.

Additional notes:

(*) Use black beans that are of good quality, meaning that they are soft enough that when the skin of the dry bean is pressed, your nail leaves a mark.
(**) In some homes in Caracas, it is customary to add about 1/2 or 3/4 cup of crushed beans to the pot in order add more body to the dish.

The beans can be eaten sprinkled with light sugar and salt, which is how they are served in places in Caracas. You can also mix a serving of beans with two or three tablespoons of white rice. In some places, the beans are eaten with sardines, and there is nothing wrong with adding a drizzle of olive oil to the beans before serving.