All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015
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So I bought those pink beans above for pennies. I Googled for idea & these Puerto Rican bean recipes kept popping up. They all called for Sazon & Sofrito – both, allegedly, readily available in the Hispanic section of the grocery store. I live in Hollywood – with a huge Hispanic population so – it ain’t hard to find ingredients for recipes of the Mexican or Central/South American variety. Yet, my local Ralph’s had no Sofrito. Lots of Sazon (which you can make at home – as it is just a bunch of spices) but no Sofrito.
So – I bought all the Sazon varieties & decided to make the Sofrito. It is just a sort of salsa with green bell peppers as the base rather than tomatoes. The problem is – I made 4 cups of the stuff before I realized most recipes only call for a tablespoon or two. I didn’t want to waste all the fresh produce goodness – so – I dumped a full two cups of the shit into my beans. As a result, these are less than authentic but they still taste great – so – I give less than no fucks. So there! Lol!
The rice calls for pigeon peas (above) – which are really a variety of bean. They were in the Hispanic aisle and, it seems, critical if you want your yellow rice to be authentic.
Like most of my slow cooker recipes, this can be made stove top in a fraction of the time but where is the fun in that?
So – let us begin with the sofrito recipe.
makes 4 cups (but you can freeze it in an ice cube tray or other small containers for future use)
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
15 sweet peppers
1 sweet or red onion
3 heads (not cloves – HEADS) of garlic – peeled
1 bunch cilantro
1 TBS salt
Puree in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
Vegan Puerto Rican Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)
feeds – like – 6 to 8 with rice
1 lb. dry pink beans
1-3 cups of sofrito (recipe above) – you can add it in increments & taste as you go but I went with three whole cups
4 cups water
2 packets Sazon (I used the Con Culantro Y Achiote but I don’t think it matters much which you use)
Garnish – cilantro, hot sauce
Stick it all in a slow cooker & leave it on high for 5 hours. Serve with rice (recipe below) & garnish as you like.
Puerto Rican Yellow Rice with Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules)
Serves as many as the amount you make – but I started with 2 cups dry rice
2 cups rice (I used brown Texmati)
Water as per instructions on your rice (make 1/4 cup less – so the rice doesn’t get mushy)
1 packet Sazon (I used Con Azafran (saffron) but any kind will do)
1 TBS sofrito (recipe above)
1 (15 oz) pigeon peas
1 TBS olive oil (optional)
Cook the rice as directed on the package with with the rest of the ingredients added to the uncooked rice.