Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beans, hold the rice

Dominican rice frightens me. I don't trust any form of white rice that takes more than 20 minutes to cook.

In addition to taking forever to stew/steam it contains massive quantities of oil (Crisco, the nasty stuff) and feels a bit like lead in my stomach. The gardeners and maids and all the manual laborers here at the Villa MUST have rice and beans at lunch, I cannot substitute potatoes or pasta (They can be served in addition) but rice and beans every day 7 days a week is the fuel that keeps them going. Far be it from me to change such rigid rules, but I don't have to eat the stuff.

The beans however are quite good and served with a Basmati or Jasmine rice (or no rice at all) I love them.

I do admit to switching heart clogging hydrogenated fat for olive oil and pushing Goya products. In the states Goya is fairly readily available and their products are pretty good, but any brand you have will work.

• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 5 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 2 bay leaves
• One 8-ounce can tomato sauce (such as Goya Spanish style)
• 2 teaspoons adobo (seasoned salt) plus a little salt and pepper if needed
• 1/2 teaspoon Goya Sazon plus a little shake of cayenne pepper
• 1/2 medium bunch fresh cilantro, including stems, roughly chopped (optional)
• 2 cups (1 pound) dried red beans, soaked overnight in 1 quart cold water, drained

Heat the olive oil in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients.

Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the oregano, bay leaves, tomato sauce, adobo, and Sazon.

Bring to a simmer and add the cilantro (if using) and beans, adding enough water to cover (about 3 cups).

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook 1 1/2 hours, covered, until the beans are tender enough to mash between two fingers. Puree a couple of cups of the beans and mix back in with the whole ones to make a great bean soup. If you must serve with rice, but realize you are a culinary chiche.