Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dominican Habichuelas

A couple of weeks ago, as we brainstormed possibilities for meatless Lenten meals, Kent recalled a dish that he had eaten everyday for three months in the Dominican Republic.  Since giving up meat for Lent, Dominican Habichuelas have become a staple in our house. On Kent’s last day in the small village, he skipped work and stayed home with his Dominican mom so he could learn how to make habichuelas.
DR photo 2 The picture above is the kitchen where Kent learned to cook this meal.  Notice the tiny stove top/oven his mom, brother and sister are standing next to.
old recipeKent said, “I think I still have that recipe somewhere.”  I thought to myself…We have trouble locating a recipe we printed last week let alone finding one you wrote down 18 years ago while in the D.R.  Kent left the room and to my complete amazement, no more than 3 minutes later, he returned with the recipe in hand. This was for a single serving that his mom made that day.  Undoubtedly, this recipe will live on in our repertoire of favorites beyond the Lenten season. 
IMG_1521 Ingredients: Pinto Beans, tomato paste, water, vinegar, white rice, sazon seasoning (a general Mexican seasoning mix that includes cilantro, achiote, garlic, salt), garlic and olive oil.
022410-4Drain and Rinse a large can of pinto beans.  Add 8 c. water, beans and 4T. olive oil to a large stock pot.  Boil for 1.5-2 hours until the beans are soft begin to crack open.
022410-8 After 1.5-2 hours the water will be cloudy and some of the beans will be cracked.
IMG_1543To the stock pot  add 3T. vinegar, 4T. tomato paste, 4.5t. minced garlic, 2 1/2T. of Sazon (depending on your seasoning preference) and bring back up to a boil for 30 minutes.  This is when we start to make the white rice.  We make 2c. dry rice.  Follow directions on the bag.
022410-14 After 30 minutes to liquid will have reduced down further and turned a deeper red color.  IMG_1544 Cilantro makes a perfect garnish, but isn’t necessary.  I like to add a little sour cream on top of mine and eat it with a warm tortilla shell.  We mix the leftover rice and beans together and store for leftovers.  This reheats very well.  This meal is megasimple and megafrugal.  We estimated this makes 4-6 servings for under 3.00!

12 comments:

  1. Do you think you could substitute black beans for pinto beans?

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  2. I think when I made this I cooked the beans too long and it became very thick (like refried beans). It was still REALLY good! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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  3. How do you make the rice???????

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  4. You said you drain and rinse a large can of beans and then boil until soft and cracking. Is that really large can, or just the 15 oz one? Aren't canned beans already soft? Or do you start with dry beans? I am very excited to try this recipe. A friend at work posted your blog in facebook. We're vegetarians during Lent (Orthodox) and always looking for new recipes. Thanks!

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  5. Heather, You could try black beans, but they are very different than pinto so the flavor and texture will likely be different. We have a great black bean recipe that I'll post soon.

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  6. Alytapp, We use a 30oz can of beans (.99 at ALDI). They are softer than dry, but right out of the can they are still pretty firm. The boiling softens the inside and causes some of the skins to crack. The longer you cook them the softer they become. Overcooking will cause them to lose their shape and be more like a mushy refried bean. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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  7. Alytapp - I had these same questions and also was not sure what size of can to use. The only options I found in the bean section at the store was 15 oz. cans or larger jars. If you look in the Mexican food area you will see the larger cans of pinto beans. Hope this helps!

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  8. I bought two small cans of pinto--about 30 oz. total. I am going to try doing the beans in the crockpot while I'm at school, then finish it off when I get home. I'll let you know how it works. The beans may turn to mush--we'll see! This is Jill, by the way. Don't know why I'm showing up as "Pictures"???

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  9. Fabulous. I am making it for dinner tonight.

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  10. So I made the habicheulus in the crock pot the other day. Much to my surprise, they did not turn to mush! I had them on low from 6:30-4:00 then transferred them into my French oven. They turned out well but a little too vinegary for my taste. I'll cut back on the vinegar next time. I was thrilled it turned out in the crockpot so it could be a weeknight meal without the long wait. Also, ours become more of a side dish served with brown rice since my husband seems to need meat with every meal. I made fajitas to go with them. Oh, I subbed Adobo seasoning to eliminate the MSG from the Sazon. Thanks for giving me something new to try!

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  11. Hi Megan, my sazon completo is actually a liquid seasoning I brought back from the DR that includes vinegar and tomato--should I leave those 2 out then when I make this and just double up on the sazon? Or do I perhaps need the tomato paste to help with thickening?

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  12. Jessica,

    I would leave out the vinegar for sure. This recipe we've found already is a little too vinegary. I think you would be fine keeping the tomato paste in for thickening. Hope it turns out well for you.

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