Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Sauce is an essential dish in Cuban cuisine.  This recipe is my take on black bean sauce, reconstructed from the collective memories of many of my friends’ mothers preparing it as part of dinner while my friends and I did our homework together at the kitchen table.  It’s great on its own, accompanied or not by hot, steaming white rice, served with Bistec de Palomilla (Cuban), Cuban Style Fried Pork or Masitas de Cerdo (Cuban) or Carnitas (Mexican) or grilled beef, chicken and pork.

Black Bean Sauce is best made prior to dinner or made as first as you then prepare the rest of the meal.  Cooked and kept covered, the flavors really have time to develop together; simply return to a simmer prior to serving.

Black Bean Sauce

Total Time: 1 hour, Serves: 4

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  • 4 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil, preferably of Spanish origin
  • 3 or 4 cloves of Garlic, peeled, trimmed and minced to yield 1 Tb
  • 1 Serrano chili, sliced into very thin rounds
  • 1 ½ tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp ground Coriander
  • ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
  • ½ tsp Coarse Sea Salt*
  • 8 Tb Dry Sherry
  • 1 Bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • 2 15.5 oz cans no-salt Black Beans*
  • *If using canned Black Beans with salt, omit the Coarse Sea Salt


  1. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic and sliced Serrano chili to the saucepan, sauté uncovered.
  3. Combine the spices (cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and sea salt*) in a small bowl.
  4. When the garlic is golden-brown, add the spices to the saucepan, stir and continue to sauté uncovered for 1 minute to allow the spices to bloom.
  5. Add 4 tablespoons of dry sherry to the saucepan and continue to cook uncovered to reduce the volume by half.
  6. Add the bay leaf and black beans, including their liquid, to the saucepan. Rinse the black bean cans with 2 tablespoons each of dry sherry and add this to the saucepan; stir to mix thoroughly.
  7. Raise the heat to bring the black bean sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.
  8. Cover and remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaf prior serving. If not ready to serve yet, keep covered off the heat, returning the black bean sauce to the heat at a simmer prior to serving.

Black Bean Sauce


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