Recipe courtesy Chef “JJ” Johnson.

Makes about 6 cups


1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced red onion
kosher salt
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrots
2 bird’s-eye chiles, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup canned chipotles in adobo, chopped, with their sauce (about ½ [7-ounce] can)
6 cups oxtail braising liquid, beef broth, or water
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the black beans in a 2-quart container and fill the container with water. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain the beans, discarding the water.
  2. In a 6-quart stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until the garlic just becomes aromatic. Follow with the onion and ½ tablespoon salt to bring out the flavors and liquid from the vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and chiles and cook for 3 additional minutes.
  3. Stir in the cumin and cook for 1 minute, then add the chipotles and their sauce and cook to heat through. Add the soaked black beans and the oxtail braising liquid.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and let the liquid come to a lazy simmer. Cover and let simmer and reduce for about 1 hour. Uncover the pot and use a wooden spoon to smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. Stir the smashed beans into the stew to make it extra creamy. Simmer, uncovered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the beans are very tender but not falling apart.
  5. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and store, with any cooking liquid, in an airtight nonreactive container for up to 3 days.


For more recipes from Johnson, be sure to purchase a copy of his book, “From Harlem to Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day.”

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