FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Meteorologist Savanna Brito and anchor Nicole Krasean are continuing the holiday cooking segments with this week’s feature: “Cuban Christmas Eve,” which Savanna’s family has been making for years.

Frijoles Negros:


  • 1-pound dried black beans (bagged from Aldi), rinsed in cold water, picked over and soaked overnight in cold water to cover by 1½ inches
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium-size green bell pepper, seedless, cut into quarters
  • 1 medium-size onion cut into quarters
  • 1 box (48 oz.) chicken broth

For the sofrito:

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1½ large-size green bell pepper, seedless and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons (spoonfuls) of giardiniera (Chicago style)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation (the day before):

  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water (cover to 1½ inches) in a large pot or skillet pan
  2. Set aside out on the counter till the next day


  1. The next day, check that the water is still covering the beans by 1½ inches, and add chicken broth (about ½ to ¾ of the box) to the pot of beans. Add the bay leaf, green pepper (cut into fourths), onion (cut into fourths) and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook with a lid cracked (a tiny bit) open. Cook until the beans are tender, and they have almost cracked open, about 2-3 hours.
  2. Check the beans while they are cooking and stir every so often. If they need more liquid add more chicken broth.
  3. To prepare the sofrito, take 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1-1½ large-size green peppers (or two medium ones), one large onion and two teaspoons (spoonful’s) of giardiniera and place in a food processor. Finely chop items.
  4. Set half aside in the fridge.
  5. In another smaller skillet pan, heat the oil over low heat until it is fragments, then add half the chopped items from the food processor. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cumin, cider vinegar, and mix well. Let cook for 1-2 additional minutes.
  7. Set the sofrito aside and continue cooking the black beans for about 15-20 additional minutes.
  8. Take the bay leaf, green pepper, onion out of the black beans and throw away. Then add the sofrito to the beans.
  9. Mix well, and cook over low heat, covered with the lid cracked, until the beans crack open more and become softer, about 30-45 additional minutes, or until sauce thickens.
  11. Season to taste and serve (Makes about 8 servings).

Note: depending on their quality and freshness, beans will vary in the amount of cooking time needed and the amount of liquid they will absorb. 

Note: If you are making rice to serve with this, once the beans/picadillo is about 30 minutes until finished, add 1-2 cups of white rice to a rice cooker then fill to correct water line. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, mix, and put on to cook.



  • ¼ cup pure Spanish olive oil (or regular olive oil)
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 1 medium-size green bell pepper, seedless and chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled, and cut into ¼-inch cubes (optional)
  • ½ cup of green olives, chopped (optional)

Note: Items 2, 3, and 4 (onion, green pepper, and cloves of garlic already done from black bean recipe part in food processor, half was set aside in fridge)


  • You should have already chopped the garlic, onion, green pepper, and giardiniera in the food processor that you set half aside from the sofrito recipe part.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them up into ¼-inch cubes
  • In a medium pan add olive oil over medium high heat until fragment, then fry the chopped potatoes until golden, about 20 minutes.
  • In a large pan/skillet pan, add the pound of ground beef and add the second half of the mixture from the food processor (of garlic, onion, green peppers, and giardiniera) and cook until the beef is browned about 10-15 minutes, breaking up any large chunks with a wooden spoon. Drain excess fat if any.
  • Add the wine, tomatoes, salt, Worcestershire, and Tabasco sauce. Stir and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the potato to the meat mixture.
  • Add chopped green olives. Optional.
  • Season to taste and serve (Makes about 4 to 6 servings) 

We hope you try and enjoy this recipe.