My grandfather is from Cuba, and brought us this recipe, which we love and use often in many forms and variations. Delicious, simple, and easy, it's been a huge hit among friends and family across generations. It's perfect for making ahead or making extra; the longer it spends in the crock pot (up to 12 hours!) the better, and freezes well. —Steph Avalos-Bock
dried beans: black, small red, or garbanzos
Soak and cook the beans with 1 tbsp salt. Overnight in the crock pot is easiest. Discard the cooking water; return beans to crock pot. (Note: you can use canned beans and skip this step to save time. Just be sure to adjust the salt accordingly.)
Saute the garlic in olive oil for a minute; add onion and green pepper. Cook 5-10 minutes until soft, adding salt to taste.
Add tomato sauce, bay leave(s), and oregano. Cook 10-15 minutes, until sauce darkens slightly. Taste and correct seasoning.
Add tomato mixture (we call this the soffritto) to the beans in the crock pot and cook on high about 6 hours or on low 8+ hours. (You can also make this on the stove and eat if after about 2 hours, but it's much better if you give it more time.)
When done, add vinegar if using black beans, or honey if using small red beans, to taste.