When I first met my husband, and started enjoying the many Puerto Rican foods that his family ate, it opened up a whole new world of exciting foods and flavors for me. Not only did I learn about where these dishes came from, and who the recipes were passed down from, but I was fortunate to have my mother in law teach me how to cook them. I would go over once a week and watch her make many dishes but rice and beans was one that I definitely had to learn. I would watch her, ask questions and started to make the dish along side of her to eventually learn how to cook it on my own. Of course, like many families, there were no written recipes to follow so I had to learn from site, smell, taste, and texture. There were many trials and errors but eventually I got it down. Every family has there own variation, and they are all good. This is the one I learned and still make at least twice a week per my husbands request. One of the biggest compliments is when my mother in law told me that I got it, and I was spot on. That was a great feeling 🙂 Nothing in my opinion can ever taste as good as your Mom’s, but I’m happy to pass this recipe on to all of you to try.
The type of pot that I use and most Puerto Ricans have in their kitchen is a caldero. It is an aluminum cast pot with a lid, IMUSA is a popular brand, and they are pretty inexpensive. I think mine was $20.00 or less. Rice and beans are a great side dish that pretty much goes with any protein, whether its roasted chicken, pork, beef, or fish. You can even eat it on it’s own because there is lots of protein in the beans making it a complete meal. I like to use Goya products, because of course that is what I was told is best. The Goya rice that I like to use is the medium grain rice. If you can’t find Goya Alcaparado in your market, some don’t carry it, you can use another brand of pimento stuffed green olives and add some capers to it as well. I like to use pinto beans or gondules (pigeon peas) but there are also other beans that are fine to use too. Whatever you like, go for it and enjoy. Or as they say in Puerto Rico,
Start by gathering your ingredients and measure them out. This is fairly quick and easy but it’s good to be ready to just add them all to the pot.
Heat your pot on medium high, add the olive oil, Recaito, Sazon, Adobo, and tomato sauce. Simmer these together until fragrant.
Add the water and salt to taste. This may taste a little on the salty side at this point but that is ok. Once it is all cooked into the rice it will not taste salty in the finished dish. Bring this all to a boil.
After 25 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. It should be cooked through and not crunchy or mushy, but perfectly wonderful! If it needs more time no worries, just cover the pot and cook a little longer until ready.
Rice and Beans (Yields: 4-6 Servings)
2 TBS Olive Oil
1 1/2 TBS Goya Recaito
3 TBS Goya Tomato Sauce
1 Packet Goya Sazon
2 tsp Goya Adobo
3 TBS Alcaparado
1 Can Goya Pinto Beans or Gondules, drained
1 tsp salt, to taste
3 1/2 c Water
2 c Goya Medium Grain Rice
1. Heat a Caldero or large pot on medium high. Add the olive oil, Recaito, Adobo, Sazon, and tomato sauce. Heat until fragrant.
2. Add the Alcaparado and drained beans and stir to combine.
3. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.
4. Once the water is boiling, add the rice and stir to combine. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer uncovered until the liquid has boiled down to the level of the rice. Do not stir anymore.
5. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes. Do not lift the lid to peek into the pot, or stir the rice. I know, it’s tempting, but don’t.
6. After 25 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.