Today we will be cooking the quintessential Puerto Rican dish: white rice and beans. So turn on your stoves, get your beans boiling, and come join us for some deliciousness.
2 lbs medium grain rice
¼ cup olive oil
5 cups water
2 tsp salt
4 cups of cooked beans ¼
c. vegetable oil
½ cup of sofrito (check out our sofrito video)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 pack sazón
⅓ c of olives
4 cups of water
3 bay leaves
1 cup of squash
Salt to taste
To begin, wash the rice in cold water. This is intended to remove all of the loose starches, so they don’t make the rice gummy when you boil the rice. Continue washing the rice until the water runs clear, meaning all of the starch is gone. After its clean, shake off any excess water and transfer the rice to a large empty bowl. Add the oil to the rice and mix thoroughly. Then set aside, while we begin boiling the water.You want to use a large, heavy pot with a tight lid for cooking the rice. We are using a 4-quart ceramic-coated steel pot; but use whatever you have on hand. The only important thing is to make sure its big enough, because the rice will expand as it cooks. Add the water and salt to the pot. Then turn it on and bring it to a boil.Turn the stove on high and
bring water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, add the rice to the pot. Keep your stove on high and set a timer for 6 ½ minutes. Keep the rice on high for these 6 ½ minutes, after that time, turn the temperature down to low. During the 6 ½ minutes, move the rice every 30 - 45 seconds. Try and be gentle with the rice, as we don’t want to break the rice grains, which will just make the rice gummy.
At first, the water level will be about an inch or so above the rice. As the rice cooks and absorbs the water, you’ll see the water level begin to come down. Once the water level reaches the rice, put the lid on to trap the remaining water in the pot. No need to move the rice after this point, so just leave the lid in place for the rest of the cooking.
When the 6 ½ minute timer goes off, turn the stove down to low and set a new timer for 20 minutes. Let the rice cook for 20 minutes; do not open the lid or move the rice during this time.
Once the 20 minute timer goes off, then open the pot and move the rice thoroughly, but gently--trying not to break the grains more than necessary. Try the rice to confirm that it is cooked. It should be chewy, with a consistent texture throughout. If your rice is still al dente, put the lid back on and leave it on low for another 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, check the rice again. If still not cooked, ad a a couple tablespoons of water and keep cooking on low with the lid on until done. Once finished, remove from the heat while you cook the beans. If you feel the rice is wetter than you’d like, just leave the top off during this period, letting it dry out.
Our recipe starts with cooked beans, whether you decided to use dry beans and cooked them yourself or beans from a can.
Turn the stove on medium. Once the pot is hot, add the oil. If the oil shimmers, its hot enough; otherwise, give it a little bit to heat up. Add the sofrito and sauté for 1 -2 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Sofrito is a basic ingredient underlying so much of Puerto Rican cuisine and consists of Cilantro, Onions, Garlic, and Peppers. It’s super easy to make and we’ve prepared a separate video (HERE) showing you how to make this. Add the squash and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, olives, and sazón to the pot and mix it all together. Put the lid on. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring as necessary to prevent anything from burning. After the sauce has reduced, remove the lid.
Add the beans, bay leaves, and water and mix it all together. Put the lid on Turn the temperature up to medium-high and let it cook for 15 minutes. Open the lid and move the beans. Cook for 5 - 15 minutes, without the lid on, depending on how thick you would like the sauce. Moving the beans every couple of minutes.Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, add salt to taste. Be careful not to add salt before you are done reducing the liquid; otherwise you run the risk of over-salting the beans.You are now ready to combine the beans with your rice.
Once you’re happy with how the beans taste, you’re ready to put it all together.
Some Puerto Ricans like their beans on top of the rice, while others like it on the side. I’ve always liked my beans on top of the rice, so that's what we are doing here.
And this is the end product! Enjoy!
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.