As I told you in my last post, Tuesday’s Treat: We are OK. We hope you are too, I made a lot of rice, beans and soups in the days leading up to the storm. They are comforting foods for our family, which everyone enjoys and are packed with lots of protein.
I’ve always loved rice and beans but, it wasn’t until I met my husband, (or more accurately, my mother-in-law, Angie, who is from the Dominican Republic and an amazing cook), that I started to make them at home. Angie is an expert at authentic Dominican dishes like Pernil (roasted pork shoulder), roasted chickens, sweet, fried plantains (maduros), Mangú (mashed, green plantains) and of course, rice and beans, which are essentially simple but need some layering of flavors and ingredients if you want them to taste good.
Angie does not generally use recipes. I often watch her while she cooks, suspecting she is sneaking in secret ingredients here and there when the kids pull my attention away. It’s taken years of pestering her for recipes while eating different variations of rice and beans (pigeon peas, pink beans, kidney beans or lentils), and all of the other foods mentioned above for me to feel like I could come up with anything close.
This dish was originally meant to be pink beans (habichuelas rosadas). I always assume I have some rosadas on hand in the pantry but as I started cooking, I realized I didn’t so, I used white, cannellini beans. They changed the flavor dynamic a bit. I didn’t add cilantro or goya sazon, as I would have with pink beans. Also, the cannellini beans looked like they needed some color so, I roasted up some grape tomatoes and threw them in. They added a nice rustic flavor. I actually ended up eating it as soup but served it on top of rice for the kids.
In the end, these beans were not exactly like the ones Angie makes but, the technique was similar and hers were definitely an inspiration. I’ll share some other recipes inspired by her fabulous Dominican cooking in the future. I’ll never get them exactly the same but using her flavor profiles and techniques, they all turn out pretty delicious, regardless!
If you are reading this, you hopefully have power and are safe and well. I still cannot comprehend the amount of devastation caused by the storm. Around us, power is still out for a lot of people and trees are down all over the place. Nothing relative to what has happened in other areas. An easy way to contribute $10 is to text REDCROSS to 90999 or visit the American Red Cross website if you would like to donate more or are in need of any assistance. Take care and I hope the next time I post, things will be in better shape for everyone.
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ onion, diced
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ½ lb butternut squash, cubed (about ¼ of a regular sized one - cut up and save the rest in the freezer for future use)
- ½ lb of ham steak, cubed (I usually have leftover ham on hand in the freezer as I cook one up every couple of months, cut up leftovers and save them in bags as well as saving the bone for some soups. However, you can buy a 1 lb pre-packaged slice in your supermarket or ask your deli counter to thickly slice a ½ lb piece for you)
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans
- 2 cups of chicken stock (Kitchen Basics brand is top 8 and gluten-free) + 2 cups of water
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and a pinch of sugar, roasted at 425 for 10-12 minutes.
- oregano for garnish, optional
- Heat oil in a pot over medium heat
- Add garlic, onion, oregano and butternut squash and cook until onions become translucent, about 8-10 minutes
- Add ham and brown it
- Add cannellini beans, do not drain them
- Add chicken stock and water
- Heat to a boil and then simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until squash practically disintegrates when you push on it, adding water if necessary
- Add in roasted tomatoes
- Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed
- Garnish with oregano