black beans and rice

Last night we went with some traditional Puerto Rican fare–arroz con habichuelas, rice and beans. It was actually perfect because we also “had” to watch last weeks episode of MasterChef with guest judge Aaron Sanchez; and of course it was a Latin inspired night. I didn’t even plan that.

*side note: MasterChef is my all time favorite cooking show, and I love to try the challenges they do on the show. So if they make a tart, I need to know how to make a tart also. (Hence the beautiful tart I made last summer featured on my ‘home’ page.) I have yet to make a croquembouche (giant tower of cream puffs covered in beautifully spun sugar), but it’s coming. *end side note
To begin a tradition Puerto Rican meal, you need sofrito. Sofrito is a mix of garlic, peppers, onions, and cilantro. You can blend any combination of these ingredients and keep it on hand in the fridge or the freezer. I did not have any and do not currently have access to a food processor so I just chopped some by hand.
With the rice and beans we also had a steak that we split, cooked in a skillet with simple salt and pepper. (Nathaniel cooked the steak. He’s in charge of the meat.) I also sliced an avocado on the side because you either need that or a fresh green salad with tomatoes to balance all the rich food and to add some color. In Puerto Rico you don’t turn avocados into guacamole–you pick them off the tree in the back yard and eat them straight.
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Not the greatest picture, but it’s delicious I promise!
The only think missing from our meal were the tostones, fried plantains, which I lovingly refer to as Tostitos. One summer when I was staying with my grandparents in PR, my Abuela bought me a bag of Tostitos chips when I asked for them, not knowing what I actually wanted were tostones. It’s been a joke ever since.
Below is my version of white rice and black beans.  I’m sure it’s not how my abuela or my dad would do it, but I have to come up with my own versions now if we ever want to eat PR food at home. Which we do often.
(Also, I cook my rice in a pot because I like the texture and flavor better, and because that’s how my family has always done it; but if you love your rice cooker, by all means use it! They’re great too!)
Beans:
Olive oil
Half of a small onion chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
One small potato diced
2 tbsps. diced Spanish chorizo
2 tsps. Adobo (to taste)
A handful of Spanish green olives with pimentos (manzanillas)
1 packet of Goya sazón
1 can of black beans, not drained
1/2 cup of water
A handful of cilantro
Preparation:
1. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil I your sauce pan. Add the garlic and onions and sautéed for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and chorizo and sauté for five minutes–until the chorizo begins to release its red oils and the potatoes begin to soften. Season generously with Adobo. Add the olives. Add the packet of Sazón and sautéed for another minute.
2. Add the beans, with the juices, and water to the sauce pan and stir.
3. Bring to a boil, then keep at a simmer. Once heat is reduced, add the cilantro.
4. Keep at a simmer covered for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and cooked through.
5. Serve over your rice.

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once everything has been added to the pot
Rice:
Olive oil
2 tsps. Salt
2 cups rice
3-4 cups water depending on your desired consistency
Preparation:
1. Heat oil and salt on a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
2. Add rice and stir for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add water and stir.  Leave at medium heat until all the water boils out.
4. Once the water has boiled out, stir rice and cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook about 15 minutes, or until desired texture.
5. Serve with beans.
buen provecho 

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