I've been making beans for a very long time, and when I first started I would cook the beans with all the spices. Although they turned out ok, they never really stood out or made anyone go "WOW that's good."
I soon realized the mistake I was making.
When you cook the beans with all the spices, including your onion and tomato etc., you basically have to eat the beans that very day, or the next one. The longer it stays in the fridge the more sour they will become, or rather, they will go bad pretty quick.
What I do, is make a big batch of beans which I'll then divide into smaller portions and freeze. When I want to serve them with that night's dinner, I take one of the portions out, and then place them in a saucepan to thaw and warm up, and at that point I'll add all the spices. The result is super delicious beans.
Best Beans Ever
1 pound bag of dried beans, your choice (I usually do pinto beans or black beans)
Salt and Pepper
Chourico, Smoked Sausage or Bacon
Finely diced onion
Parsley, Cilantro and Green Onion Mixture
Soak your beans for the minimum of an hour, or overnight. Some people don't soak their beans, I do because all of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence, are contained on the skin. Of course, you also want to make sure you sort your beans and remove any little pebbles, and the soaking will also give them a good wash.
Once your beans have been soaked, place them in a slow cooker, add enough water to cover them by about two inches and then add in the bay leaf and the meat you're using, whether it's chourico (I usually put it in whole, same with the smoked sausage), sausage or diced bacon.
Turn the slow cooker to HIGH and cook for about 5 to 6 hours until beans are tender. Just a quick heads up, pinto beans take a LONG time to cook and sometimes I have them going all day long on high.
Once they are cooked. Remove the meat and the bay leaf. Spoon the beans into smaller portions and freeze. If you are making some right away, then set aside however much you want to make and freeze the rest.
To season the beans......in a pot, add a little bit of olive oil, the diced onion and the crushed garlic. I make my own crushed garlic, by peeling and then finely chopping up a few heads of garlic, then placing them in a mason jar and filling with olive oil to about an inch above the garlic. Place the jar in the fridge and then use that whenever you're cooking.
For the beans, I add about a teaspoon and a half.
Once the onion is tender and translucent, add in the beans, then add back in the meat. If you use chourico or smoked sausage, dice them up before adding. Season with salt and pepper, cumin to taste, paprika to taste and add in about a 1/4 cup or so of the Parsley, Cilantro and Green Onion mixture.
Stir to combine well, and let cook for a few minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve immediately.
We absolutely love beans and I'll usually serve them with whatever meat we are having for dinner, and some white rice.