Chris HowardComment

Black Beans From Scratch

Chris HowardComment
Black Beans From Scratch

Black Beans From Scratch

(in three acts)

Prep time: 18-24 hours (inactive)

Cook time: 3 hours (2.5 hours inactive)

Does your grandmother have a black bean recipe? One that starts with soaking dried beans overnight? The kind that spends a few hours in the oven and then gets lovingly spooned onto your plate? 

No? Well, neither does mine. We can both keep that a secret. For the rest of our lives we can now refer to this recipe and answer the above questions in the affirmative. 


  • Substitute the chicken broth with water or vegetable broth to make it vegan/vegetarian

  • Spoon onto a plate with sliced avocado and some pico de gallo

  • Have along with some of my Ultimate Ground Taco Meat – that's the one with ground bison, ground beef, chorizo and portobello mushrooms.

  • Burrito bowl

  • Go classic with rice & beans

  • I could list nine more suggestions but I will stop now


Act I: Day Before

  • 1 pound dried black beans

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 6 cups water

Act II: Day of (before boiling)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • lots of freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed

  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced into half moons

  • 1 poblano, diced

  • 3 celery stalks

  • 6 cups chicken broth (or water)

  • 1 lime, zest

  • 1 orange, zest

Act III: Day of (After 2 hours of baking)

  • Juice of the zested lime

  • Juice of the zested orange

  • 1 tespoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle power

  • pinch of kosher salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

Mise en place

(Set yourself up for success before you start cooking)

  • Prep the day of cooking

    • Cut the onion in half through the root and discard the papery outer layer

    • Rinse and dice the poblano

      • Rinse the poblano and cut it in half. Then pull out the stem and the seeds. Slice out any excess white ribs in the pepper. Cut the the pepper into long thin strips. Rotate the strips (or your cutting board) 90 degrees to cut into a dice.

    • Rinse the celery stalks and break in half

    • Smash the garlic


Step 1

Rinse the beans in a large colander or strainer. Pick out anything that isn't a bean.  Add 6 cups water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt to a large bowl. Whisk to dissolve the salt and add the beans. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 18-24 hours. 

Step 2

It must be tomorrow now. Transfer the beans to a large colander/strainer. Rinse the beans well in cold water. Place a 5 quart dutch oven (or another oven safe cooking vessel that has a lid and will fit all of the ingredients) next to the sink. Place the beans in the dutch oven.

Step 3

Add all of the rest of the ingredients listed under "Day of (before boiling)" except for the lime and orange. Zest the lime and add the zest to the dutch oven. Then zest the orange and add the zest to the dutch oven. Stir well. Put the lime and orange in the refrigerator. We will juice them later. 

Step 4

Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 325. Place the dutch oven on the stove,  cover and bring to a boil. This should take around 10 minutes. 

Step 5

Once everything has come to a boil, transfer the dutch oven to the oven to bake for 2 hours. 

Step 6

After two hours, remove the dutch oven. Discard the celery and the bay leaves. Add all of the ingredients listed under "Day of (After 2 hours of baking)." Stir well and scrape down any brown bits on the side of the dutch oven as best as you can. 

Place in the oven to cook for 30 more minutes, uncovered. 

Step 7

After 30 minutes, remove from the oven. Stir well and then cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. 

Now scrape the brown bits off the sides of the dutch oven again. Serve now or save for future use.