Posted: 8:38 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012
By Monica Eng
RICE AND BEANS
Discussions of the best options for cheap, tasty nutritious meals often boil down to three words: rice and beans. Depending on how you prepare the combo, it can be dull and boring or downright delicious.
4 cups water2 cups brown or white rice11/2 teaspoons salt2 tablespoons lard or olive oil3 cups dried beans1/2 green pepper finely diced1/2 onion finely diced3 cloves garlic minced1/4 cup cilantro4 ounces tomato sauce1/2 packet Sazon Goya seasoning blend (optional)1/4 cup winter squash, cooked, cut into chunks (optional)
THE RICE: Heat 4 cups water to a boil in a kettle. Meanwhile, cook the rice and ½ teaspoon salt with 1 tablespoon lard or olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to coat the rice with the fat. Pour the water over the rice. Let the water boil down until you can see the surface of the rice. Cover; turn to a very low flame. Simmer until the rice is tender.
THE BEANS: Cover the beans with 2 inches of water in a bowl or stockpot. Soak overnight. Drain the beans and place them in a stockpot; fill with water to cover beans by 1 inch. Heat to a simmer; simmer until soft, 1 hour or more. Wait until beans are tender before adding 1 teaspoon salt. Taste for seasoning. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil or lard in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the green pepper, onion and garlic . Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant and tender. Stir in cilantro; cook until herb gives off its aroma. Add the tomato sauce; cook to meld flavors. Drain the cooked beans, saving 1 cup cooking water; pour beans into the sofrito mixture. Add cooking water; heat to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Salt to taste. You also can add Sazon Goya seasoning blend and/or winter squash for extra flavor and texture.Serve over the rice with a nice green salad.
Makes: 6 servings