Soak beans overnight.
Drain beans and place in a 3 1/2-quart (at least) pot with the water. Bring to a boil. Stick the whole cloves into one of the onions, and add to the beans, along with the chiles negros, bay leaves, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 75 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ancho chiles and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove and discard the onion. Remove the chiles, stem them, and place in a food processor.
Chop the remaining onion. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add to the chiles in the food processor. Seed the fresh chiles and chop coarsely; add to the ingredients in the food processor, along with the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the bean-cooking liquid, and 1 cup of the beans. Process 2-3 minutes, until the mixure is chopped and chunky. Do not make a smooth purée.
Return the mixture to the bean pot and add the sherry, cumin, and chile arbol. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.Halve the plantains and peel them. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 slices, then halve each of these slices. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the plantains on both sides until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Serve the beans with plantains, sour cream, and chopped cilantro as garnish.
Serves 6. Be warned -- this is one spicy dish!
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