Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dominican Style Pinto Beans

These are the most delicious beans I have ever made.  And there is a funny story behind their creation.  Hubbs and I have been married for almost four years now and we both love beans.  When we were first married, I could cook beans just fine, I just couldn't make them "saucy" like he wanted.  Oh he would eat them and really wouldn't say anything, but I knew he wasn't thrilled to be eating them.  I tried so many different recipes, but let's face it: I am American and the only beans I ever ate growing up where the canned variety in the chili my Mum would make, or cooked in her Ham and Bean Soup, where she would actually cook them from dry.  That's it.  Or maybe a can of refried beans or baked beans here or there.  Since attending culinary school in the city at NGI, I have learned to make beans from scratch for all kinds of dishes, but we never covered the "saucy" beans Hubbs so craves.  The kind of beans he was craving are cooked to perfection and accompanied by a thick, well seasoned sauce. poured over rice so that the sauce soaks into the rice.  I tried making the seasoned beans several times, listening and jotting down everything my Spanish coworkers would tell me.  And I would make it at home, and it would be tasty, in an American kind of way, and Hubby would eat it, but I knew it was never really that good.

Thankfully Hubby's cousin, a fellow Dominican named Wady moved here to Brookyn and was staying with us for a couple weeks while he got everything together.  And he did not speak a word of English.  Seriously.  Not. A. Word. And Hubby would leave us together for extended periods of time.  So, whenever I would finish with work, I would come home, and he would be there, and I would have to entertain him for hours until the Hubby got back, with me not really speaking much Spanish, although understanding quite a bit.  It was pretty awkward for several days, until I somehow learned that Wady could cook - and cook beans! 

So, he decided to teach me.  We went shopping together for the ingredients, using my pocket translator, and he bought everything we needed.  Then we went back home and he proceeded to teach me how to make Dominican Beans.  He talked the whole time, but I mostly watched his hands - and noticed he of course did not measure anything!  So, I judged how many teaspoons or tablespoons of whatever ingredient he was putting in the pot, and just basically watched the whole thing.  The beans were damn tasty!  So, a week later, I went into the kitchen with my scribbled over recipe and set to work.  When the Hubby came home and I set the plate in front of him, you really should have seen his face.  He looked so hopeful!  He took one bite, declared the beans "amazing" and hugged me.  In the middle of dinner!  Success!  So I am now a pro at making Dominican beans, if I do say so myself.  And this is the recipe Wady and I came up with - a long time in coming!

Dominican Style Pinto Beans:

Pot 'o Steaming Dominican Beans!

Serves 4-6 (or 2 big Dominicans and one blanquita ;)

8 oz. pinto beans, soaked
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, small diced, about 1 1/2 cups
1 medium green pepper, small diced, about 3/4 cup
1 stalk celery, halved and thinly sliced, about 1/2 cup
6 cloves garlic, minced
10 sprigs cilantro, thick stems removed
1 large jalapeno, small diced, about 1/4 cup
6 tablespoons tomato paste
8 tablespoons homemade sofrito (recipe to come later)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-2 1/2 tablespoons unchicken boullion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1.  Search through the beans and discard any stones.  Soak them overnight preferably, but if time doesn't allow, do my quick method: Place beans in a covered pot filled with water.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, but keep the lid on the pot.  Let beans sit in hot water for an hour and they will look like they have been soaking for 8 hours.
2.  Drain the water and plumped beans.  You can either cook them in an open pot or pressure cook them, which takes a fraction of the time.  Do not add salt to the cooking beans - it will not allow them to cook properly.  Cook until they can be easily squeezed and squished between your fingers.  DO NOT drain the water!  This is one of the most important things!  There should be several inches of water on top of the beans - do not dump any of it out.  Set pot aside. 
3.  While the beans are cooking, you can move onto the next step.  In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Add the onions, pepper, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, tomato paste and sofrito.  Do not add the spices.Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the entire mixture is thick, well seasoned and fragrant. 
4.  Once the beans are cooked, keep them at a high simmer and add the seasoned mixture you sauteed.  Stir into the beans well.  Now add the spices: the black pepper, vegetable boullion powder and garlic powder.  You shouldn't need salt because it is in the boullion powder, tomato paste and sofrito.  But you can add some if you feel like.

Close Up of the Tasty, Steamy Beans

5.  Continue simmering beans, turning the heat down a little.  The longer they simmer, the more flavorful they become and the thicker the sauce.  Keep tasting the liquid.  After a half hour of simmering, they should be ready.  The sauce should have thickened and they should be nice and flavorful. 
6.  That's it!  So tasty!  Make it and appreciate all my hard work learning to make beans for my Hubby.
7.  Serve over white or brown rice.


Dinner: Dominican Beans over Brown Rice, Sauteed Zucchini
and Mixed Green Salad with Avocado



No comments:

Post a Comment