As often happens when my large, extended family convenes, we do what all families do: give each other a hard time.
This week, while we’re all at the beach together, the “hard time” factor is ratcheted up a notch…or two.
We each take turns making a meal for each other during the vacation week. My sister-in-law, Juli, and brother, Andy, grilled shrimp and beef for tacos or fajitas, and Juli made rice and beans.
“These aren’t Mexican,” my brother, Jim, pointed out as we sat down to eat, completely counterintuitive to the Mexican meal Juli and Andy were trying to prepare.
Jim has spent quite a bit of time in Latin America, unlike the rest of us who rely on Pinterest and the Food Network for our exposure to other cuisines.
Luckily, Andy and Juli have a good sense of humor and the “correction” on the name of their dish was forgotten as soon as it was tasted.
This dish of beans, rice and pork cooked in one pot is indeed Dominican in origin. The “peasant food,” so to speak, is filling, easy to cook and great for a crowd.
Dominican Rice and Beans
8 oz red kidney beans
1/2 lb smoked ham or bacon (coarsely cut into cubes)
4 cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)
1/2 green bell pepper (coarsely chopped)
3 sprigs cilantro (coarsely chopped)
3 medium onions (coarsely chopped)
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato (coarsely chopped)
2 Tbs vinegar
2 cups white rice (well rinsed)
Soak beans overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours in a large container with enough water to generously cover.
Drain water, transfer beans to a large stockpot and cover with 5 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the ham or bacon pieces, partially cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of water and continue cooking for 30 to 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, make a sofrito. In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, bell pepper, cilantro and half of the onion, and process to a coarse paste.
In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the sofrito mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, salt, black pepper, tomato, vinegar and remaining onion to the beans, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Do not stir or the mixture will break up and take on a gluey consistency. The dish is done when the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 371, Calories from Fat: 59, Fat: 7 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 16 mg, Sodium: 671 mg, Potassium: 682 mg, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 15 g.
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