Tag Archives: rice and beans

Top Ten Easy Latin Bean Recipes (Fiesta de Frijoles y Habichuelas)

3 Apr

Some of you have reported hunting down my bean recipes. Well here are some of my faves, all gathered in one place! Just click on the image to get to the recipe.

Make it yourself and enjoy whichever texture you prefer!

Home-made refried beans! (Vegan, but you’d never know)

Five Minute Black beans - I KID YOU NOT - FIVE MINUTE PREP

Five Minute Black beans – I KID YOU NOT – FIVE MINUTE PREP

Garbanzos con chorizo (chick peas and hot dry Spanish sausage)

Garbanzos con chorizo (chick peas and hot dry Spanish sausage)

Continue reading

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Arroz con Habichuelas Rosadas (Puerto Rican Rice and Beans – authentic/how to fake them)

15 Nov

Oh the sweet taste of victory!

My victory? My victory garden!

My little baby peppers

I managed to coax a couple of ajies (Capsicum chinense or sweet cooking peppers) from seeds that I saved from a pepper from my mom’s cousin’s kitchen garden in Mayaguez, to go with the recao (Eryngium foetidum or sawtooth coriander) that I grew from a seed packet from Puerto Rico. Next year I will be much more aggressive about how early I plant all my peppers, but for this year, the teeny-tiny-ness of my harvest does not diminish the absolute joy of it. Continue reading

Puerto Rican Rice and Beans (Arroz con habichuelas)

26 Feb

I didn’t mean to make arroz con habichuelas last week, but when I dashed into a Latin supermarket for something else, I was stopped dead by the presence of something that looked pretty close to Puerto Rican pumpkin (or calabaza, as we call it). The Fates intervened with my dinner plans.

Native to the Americas, pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) has been an integral part of diets in this part of the world for thousands of years. The flesh and the seeds are used for many purposes. (in Mexico the crushed seeds are used to coat meats as you might use breadcrumbs). It is also one-third of the famed Three Sisters agricultural practice. Corn stalks make a trellis for beans, while pumpkin enjoys the shade underneath. Each plant supplies a nutrient to the soil that the other one needs, so the soil stays naturally healthy and fertile, while the produce provides invaluable nutrition to people. It just makes sense.

I have published this recipe before, but this time I include more substitutions if you don’t have a nearby source for Latin style ingredients. Check your “International foods” aisle for prepared sofrito – Goya has a wide reach and its sofrito is used by Caribbean Latin cooks all over, so you are in good company with this shortcut.

The new substitution of cooked ham steak for the salt pork reflects what I’ve been doing since I can’t find the kind of cooking pork I like. It is neat and tidy, fairly cheap, adds good flavor, and the extra can be frozen for another day (the cooked ham steaks are super-easy to chop fine or mince when frozen).

If you don’t find calabaza (and in fact the one that made me whip up this pot of beans was a Jamaican style and not quite what I like, but perfectly serviceable), acorn squash is my favorite substitute.

Note: With the leftovers I make quesadillas or nachos…yum. Also goes great with rotisserie chicken!

Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients; once you do the prep, you are almost done.

Ingredients

  1. 1lb calabaza caribeña (Caribbean pumpkin) OR 1 lb. acorn squash, washed, cut in half, seeds removed and cut into big chunks (you can cut the rind off before boiling or peel it off after). It should be boiled for 15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside and reserve ½ cup cooking liquid.
  2. ½ lb salt pork, diced (don’t discard the hard rind, just score the fat as best you can). You can also use ham steak – readily available in the supermarket (4 oz cooked ham is a worthy substitute)

3. SOFRITO

(sofrito is the roux, the mirepoix, the basic saute seasoning of Puerto Rican cooking and is very difficult to reconstruct in the mainland U.S., which is why Goya makes a fortune selling it in jars. So if you can get most of the ingredients for sofrito at the local bodega/supermarket, then do this! –actually, quadruple or quintuple it and freeze it in ice cube trays for use later. Otherwise, buy commercial sofrito and use a couple of heaping tablespoons)

½ onion, minced (about ¾ Cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cubanelle (long green Italian cooking) pepper, seeded and diced

Five or six ajíes (non-spicy green peppers that look exactly like scotch bonnets/habaneros, but are not at all spicy! Taste them! They are hard to find but Latin supermarkets often have them), seeded and diced. Use another cubanelle – the redder the better — if you can’t get these.)

Five or six hojas de recao – culantro leaves- chopped. (Not to be confused with cilantro, these look like dandelion leaves without the curvy sides. They are hard to get, usually come from Costa Rica and their potency disappears quickly after cutting. I actually grow my own in the summer, which takes forever and yields very little in my part of the world. If you find them, use them as soon as you get them home! If you can’t find them, buy the sofrito WITH culantro)

3 Tbs tomato paste or Latin style tomato sauce/salsa de tomate (optional)

1 Tbs dried oregano (2 Tbs fresh)

2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

  1. two 15-oz cans pink beans (habichuelas rosadas), rinsed and drained

DIRECTIONS

While you are boiling the calabaza, heat the pork in a heavy pot. Cook it through and remove the scored rind. Leave the diced meat. Add a bit of olive oil, if necessary, then sauté the sofrito ingredients until tender, adding optional tomato at the end. Add beans. Add cooked calabaza and the reserved liquid. Cook for 15 minutes and serve on white or brown rice.

Black Bean Variation (Frijoles Negros con pimientos morrones y chorizo)

19 Jun

As much as I like my basic five-minute black bean recipe, (https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/five-minute-black-beans/)I do get bored with it occasionally and I also actually sometimes have more than five minutes (this prep takes maybe ten minutes).

On this occasion of boredom and time to spare, I had some chorizo and roasted red pepper doing nothing but getting old in my fridge, so I broke out of my box. The result was much, much better than I anticipated; the addition of chorizo added a silky umami sort of mouthfeel that was actually a bit like gravy. So give it a try; my son and I enjoyed the added spiciness and actually had it with rice one day and on tortilla chips topped with Monterey Jack cheese and lightly broiled the next day.

Black bean variation (with chorizo, roasted red pepper and oregano)

1.5 Tbs olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3oz Spanish-style dry chorizo sausage, peeled and diced

1 Tbs roasted red pepper from a jar, drained and diced

1 29oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp dry oregano

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until fragrant. Add onion, stir to coat and lower heat to medium. Cook for five minutes. Add garlic, cook one minute. Add chorizo and cook until it starts to release color. Add red pepper, stir to coat. Cook an additional minute. Add beans, oregano and ½ cup water (more if you want more liquid for rice; about that or less for future quesadilla filling or nacho topping). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes.

Rice and Beans: A Love Story

14 Feb

We eat a lot of rice and beans around here and you should too. At less than a dollar a can (one day I will soak my own, but for the moment, the canned will do fine) and just minutes in the making, they solve many an issue in this household. And with all the protein and roughage they pack, well, they give a lot of nutritional bang for the buck.

Having said that, I don’t actually do classic Puerto Rican rice and beans often. It’s a lot about ingredients and disappointment. Nothing ever tastes as good as you remember it. No one (except certain Dominican kitchen geniuses) can do it quite the way Abuelita (or Titi) used to. And some ingredients don’t grow here or travel well. So, recognizing that my expectations far outway any realistic possiblities of fulfillling them, I opt out. And daydream.

arroz con habichuelas

arroz con habichuelas

But…if you can’t be with the ingredients you love, honey, love the ones you’re with.

Love the ones you’re with.

 

calabaza and sawtooth coriander

calabaza and sawtooth coriander

So in celebration of Valentine’s Day, I will stop the silly nostalgia for meals never again to be equaled, the yearning for ingredients elusive, the disdain for what is offered right in front of me. I will share a recipe for Puerto Rican rice and beans that embraces, not fantasy, but reality. It is not what could be, but what actually is. It may not be exactly what I dream of, but it provides exactly what I need, and my heart swells in gratitude.

And that, my dear readers, is true romance, true love, true bliss.

 

Authentic arroz con habichuelas

Authentic arroz con habichuelas

Born on the Moon Beans

Puerto Rican independentista and poet Juan Corretjer once penned “Yo sería borincano si naciera en la luna” or loosely translated: “I would be Puerto Rican even if I had been born on the moon.”

It is the heartsong of millions on the island and in the diaspora, including me, as it happens! So….Beans Born on the Moon, seems an appropriate name for this dish.  It is ingredient-heavy, but easy to assemble once everything is chopped.

Ingredients

  1. 1lb calabaza caribeña (Caribbean pumpkin) OR 1 lb. acorn squash, washed, cut in half, seeds removed and cut into big chunks (you can cut the rind off before boiling or peel it off after). It should be boiled for 15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside and reserve ½ cup cooking liquid.
  2. ½ lb salt pork, diced (don’t discard the hard rind, just score the fat as best you can). You can also use ham steak – readily available in the supermarket
  3. SOFRITO

(sofrito is the roux, the mirepoix, the basic saute seasoning of Puerto Rican cooking and is very difficult to reconstruct in the mainland U.S., which is why Goya makes a fortune selling it in jars. So if you can get most of the ingredients for sofrito at the local bodega/supermarket, then do this! –actually, quadruple or quintuple it and freeze it in ice cube trays for use later. Otherwise, buy commercial sofrito and use a couple of heaping tablespoons)

½ onion, minced (about ¾ Cup)

1 cubanelle (long green Italian cooking) pepper, seeded and diced

Five or six ajíes (non-spicy green peppers that look exactly like scotch bonnets/habaneros, but are not at all spicy! Taste them! They are hard to find), seeded and diced. Use another cubanelle – the redder the better — if you can’t get these.

Five or six hojas de recao – culantro leaves- chopped. Not to be confused with cilantro, these look like dandelion leaves without the curvy sides. They are hard to get, usually come from Costa Rica and their potency disappears quickly after cutting. I actually grow my own in the summer, which takes forever and yields very little in my part of the world. If you find them, use them as soon as you get them home! If you can’t find them, buy the sofrito WITH culantro

3 Tbs tomato paste or pureed tomatoes (optional)

1 Tbs dried oregano (2 Tbs fresh)

2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

  1. two 15-oz cans pink beans (habichuelas rosadas), rinsed and drained

While you are boiling the calabaza, heat the pork in a heavy pot. Cook it through and remove the scored rind. Leave the diced meat. Add a bit of olive oil, if necessary, then sauté the sofrito ingredients until tender, adding optional tomato at the end. Add beans. Add cooked calabaza and the reserved liquid. Cook for 15 minutes and serve on white rice.

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