Cool Beans {baked black beans}

Growing up in Florida, most of my interactions with black beans were in the Cuban style. Or the “Cuban” style, most likely. Black beans and rice was a frequent side dish for us and showed up on our plates with fish and chicken and pork and really just about anything. Since my adoption of Texas in-laws, black beans have become something different – something, shall we say, Tex-Mex. My mother-in-law made these “refried” black beans one Christmas Eve with the traditional Christmas Eve enchilada and tamale dinner and I probably make them twice a month – or every time we’re having a Mexicanesque dinner at home.

Head to your pantry and gather:

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Let me make this as simple as possible: put all of the ingredients except the cheese in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

While those are cooking, preheat your oven to 400°F. Take the lid off the beans and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. During this time, grab a fork and begin mushing the beans with the back of the fork. The chicken stock should begin to be absorbed and the beans will become pleasantly smooshed. Pour them into an oven-safe dish.

Top with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until all the cheese has melted. I generally use Monterey Jack but we were experiencing a cheese shortage and all I had was cheddar. That worked too.

Make these and be happy. Off to find some jokes.