Monday, January 24, 2011

Cuban Red Beans & Rice

Recipes for red beans and rice are common in many cultures, especially in the Caribbean. Here's an old family recipe from Cuba. The traditional recipe uses annatto (achiote) powder or the Sason Goya brand seasoning that has annatto ("con achiote") but you can leave this out if you can't find annatto or Sason Goya. Unlike Mexican food, Cuban food usually doesn't use hot peppers and isn't hot & spicy, but it's definitely quite flavorful. If you crave heat, feel free to add a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce at the table. This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings, and is vegetarian.

2 Tbs olive oil, preferably Spanish olive oil like Goya brand
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Opt: 1/2 Tbs annatto powder (achiote) OR 1 packet of "Sason Goya con achiote" (with annatto)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can red kidney beans, drained (about 2 cups of beans)
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water

Heat the olive oil and bay leaf over medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid. Add the onion and saute until softened. Add garlic and peppers and annatto/Sason Goya if using, continue to saute until softened and onion is translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and oregano. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is well blended and the tomatoes have broken down. Stir in the beans and season with salt and pepper to taste (if using Sason Goya seasoning, you probably won't need to add any salt). Add the rice and water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, then bring heat down to low and cook, covered, until all the water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and remove the bay leaf before serving.

Zestfully yours,

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