Caraotas Negras Venezolanas, or Venezuelan-style black beans, are a staple in Venezuelan cuisine and an absolute must-try for anyone looking to explore the flavors of this South American country. These delicious black beans are packed with flavor and incredibly versatile – they can be served as a side dish, as part of a larger meal like Pabellon Criollo (Venezuela’s national dish), or even stuffed into freshly-toasted arepas (corn patties) with shredded white cheese.
In this blog post, we’ll be diving into the world of Caraotas Negras Venezolanas – exploring their history and origins, sharing tips and tricks for making them at home, and of course, providing you with a delicious and easy-to-follow recipe. We’ll also be discussing the nutritional benefits of black beans and how they can be incorporated into a healthy and balanced diet.
But before we get into all that, let’s talk a little bit about the history of Caraotas Negras Venezolanas. Black beans have been a staple food in South America for thousands of years, with evidence of their cultivation dating back to pre-Columbian times.
In Venezuela, black beans (known as Caraotas Negras) are an important part of the country’s culinary heritage and can be found simmering on stoves in kitchens throughout the country.
So what makes Venezuelan-style black beans so special? For starters, they’re incredibly flavorful – simmered with onions, peppers, garlic and a blend of spices, these beans pack a punch in the flavor department.
They’re also incredibly versatile – they can be served as a side dish or as part of a larger meal like Pabellon Criollo (Venezuela’s national dish), which consists of shredded beef, rice, fried plantains and black beans.
But perhaps what I love most about Caraotas Negras Venezolanas is how easy they are to make at home. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic cooking techniques, you can have a pot of these delicious black beans simmering on your stove in no time.
And the best part? The recipe is easily customizable to suit your taste – you can add more or less heat, experiment with different herbs and spices, or even add in some diced ham or sausage for additional flavor.
So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!
- 2 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 red and/or green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar cane (panela), finely grated, or 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans
- Adobo all-purpose seasoning with pepper, to taste
- 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces queso blanco, grated (for serving)
- Start by cooking the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon begins to crisp up - this should take about 7 minutes.
- Add in the onions, peppers and garlic and cook until the onions soften and begin to brown - about 12 minutes.
- Stir in the brown sugar cane (if using) until well combined.
- Add in the black beans, 3/4 cup water and Adobo seasoning. Bring everything to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let everything simmer until the bean mixture thickens and the beans are heated through - about 10-15 minutes more.
- Just before serving, stir in the cilantro and olive oil.
- Serve topped with queso blanco, if desired.
- You can make this recipe without bacon. You can simply omit the bacon and start with step 2 of the recipe. Alternatively, you can use a vegetarian substitute for bacon or use a tablespoon of olive oil to sauté the onions, peppers and garlic in step 2.
- You can add other ingredients to this recipe to suit your taste. Some suggestions could be adding diced tomatoes, diced jalapeño peppers for some heat, or even some diced ham or sausage for additional flavor. You could also experiment with different herbs and spices to add more depth to the dish.
- You can experiment with different herbs and spices to add more depth to the dish. Some suggestions could be adding cumin, chili powder, or smoked paprika for a smoky flavor. You could also try adding fresh herbs such as oregano or thyme. It’s all about finding the flavors that you enjoy and making the dish your own.
- You can make this recipe without Adobo seasoning. Adobo is a blend of spices that typically includes garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and sometimes other spices like cumin or chili powder. If you don’t have Adobo seasoning on hand, you can try making your own blend using these spices or simply season the dish to taste with salt, pepper, and any other spices or herbs that you enjoy.