Sunday, November 13, 2011

Moro y Habichuelas Pintas (Rice & Pinto Beans)

I have been so busy lately that I have barely seen the Hubby.  By the time I come home, he is already in bed.  The couple days I got off early he had already made plans a couple weeks ago, so I had the time to myself.  But instead of spending it alone, I invited my good friend Kumiko over for a Dominican dinner.  I have been telling her forever that she needs to come over for dinner, but it hasn't happened until now.  She lives in Jersey so it's a little difficult to get together.  We had such a great time cooking together.  It was so funny too: imagine a Japanese and American girl cooking Dominican food!  We had a great time and I actually think this is the best I have ever cooked this kind of food.  Poor Hubby for missing out on it! 

Kumiko nicely brought me a bottle of ice wine and a bottle of vanilla rum.  She is somewhat a connoisseur of wine and alcohol and is always bringing me new and exciting alcoholic beverages, which I admittedly do not drink very often, but enjoy nonetheless.  So I now have 2/3 of a bottle of ice wine sitting in my fridge staring at me every time  I open it.  I'll have to have a half a glass every night until it's gone, which isn't such a terrible thing!  Here is the awesome meal we had:

Moro y Habichuelas Pintas:

Moro on the top, Seasoned Pinto Beans, Okra and a Salad

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup green pepper, small diced
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper., small diced
1 cup onion, small diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 carrot, small diced, about 1/2 cup
3 mini vegetable boillion cubes (Maggi is a good brand)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup filtered water

Habichuelas Pintas:
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked, then cooked till soft, bean cooking water reserved
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, small diced
1/2 cup green pepper, small diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons sofrito
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 mini vegetable boullion cubes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Start the moro first.  Put a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add the oil.  Once hot, add all the vegetables and cook till softened.  Rinse the rice under water.  Add the wet rice to the pot and cook, stirring, until the rice is no longer wet.  Once the rice has dried, add the coconut milk and the water.  Add all the spices and stir well to combine.  It should taste too salty and too spicy - it will mellow once it cooks.
2.  Lower the heat to low and cover with lid.  Stir the contents every few minutes until the rice is completely cooked through - this will take at least half an hour.  Once the rice is just cooked, allow it to continue cooking in the pan for about 10 minutes without stirring it.  This will give it the customary crunchy bottom layer that Spanish people love so much. 
3.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the beans.  In a medium saucepan, place all the ingredients except the beans and bean cooking water and stir to combine.  Turn the heat on medium-high and cook until very fragrant, the mixture turns a dark color and the veggies are partially cooked. 
4.  Pour this cooked mixture into the pot with the beans and water.  Stir to combine.  Turn the pot on medium heat and allow to come to a simmer.  Lower heat slightly and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, or until the beans are fragrant and the sauce has thickened. 
5.  I served the beans in a ramekin because they were really juicy and I didn't want the rice and beans flavors to mix.  If you just make plain white or brown rice, you can certainly just spoon the beans over top so the flavors meld.  I served it with a salad, homemade lime vinaigrette and a simple steamed okra with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.



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