Rice and beans with meat and a green salad was almost always on the dinner menu growing up. As the daughter of Dominican-born parents, it’s hard to imagine a childhood without it. It’s part of La Bandera, which is arroz con habichelas y pollo guisado – rice with beans and stewed chicken. It’s also cheap eats. A heaping serving of rice and beans with a green salad probably only costs about $2-$3 a person to make. Not bad if you’re trying to save some money.
Latin rice and beans is similar to New Orleans red beans and rice but with some distinct differences. Both the New Orleans-style recipe (check out my “Inspired” recipe here) and Dominican version cook over a low heat for hours, melding the flavors of the seasoning into the dish itself. Both dishes are typically served over rice and may or may not include meat. Dominican habichelas themselves do not contain meat. They are also not spicy.
My recipe below produces a delicious steamy bean stew that goes well over rice and your choice of meat. Check it out!
- Instant Pot. I used my 3-quart for this recipe. You can easily double it but go for the 6 quart instead.* (See tips below.)
- Chef’s knife.
- Cutting board.
- Wooden spoon.
- Ladle for serving.
- Small bowl.
- Measuring spoons and cup.
- 1 pound of pre-soaked pinto beans (for this recipe, I pre-soaked 8 ounces’ worth of beans, which became about 1 pound after soaking).
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 bunch cilantro.
- 1 green bell pepper.
- 4 cloves garlic.
- 1 white onion.
- 3 cups chicken stock or water.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: You can double this recipe, but keep in mind that you should keep the combination of ingredients lower than the 1/2 way mark on the pot. Beans foam and could clog the sealing valve.
- Pre-soak your beans. (Cover the beans with about an inch of water in a bowl and allow to soak overnight or for 8-10 hours. No need to add salt. Drain, rinse, then set aside.)
- Measure out the oregano and tomato paste, set aside.
- Wash half the bunch of cilantro and pat dry.
- Dice the green bell pepper, garlic, and white onion to make about a half cup.
- Rinse and pat dry the cilantro bunch. Keep it tied together.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute and more to adjust the heat level.
- Once the display reads “HOT,” pour in the vegetable oil.
- After a minute, sweat the bell pepper, garlic, and white onion in the hot oil. Sauté for about three minutes, taking care to not let the aromatics burn, but become translucent and fragrant instead.
- Stir in oregano.
- Pour in the beans.
- Stir in the tomato paste and quickly add the stock or water until the beans are covered by about 1/2 inch to an inch of liquid. (Note, don’t go over the 1/2 line!)
- Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more if needed.
- Add in your bunch of cilantro on top.
- Close and lock the lid. Make sure the knob is set to sealing.
- Push the Bean/Chili button and adjust to 40 minutes at high pressure.
- After the cooking cycle, allow the pot to rest for about 10-15 minutes then carefully release any remaining pressure in the pot.
- Remove the bunch of cilantro. Discard.
- Stir the beans. With the back of a spoon, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot. This will naturally thicken the broth to your liking. Keep in mind that a little mashing goes a long way. You can quickly go from soupy to gloopy with too much mashing! You’re looking for the consistency of a thick barbecue sauce – not too runny, but not like molasses either.
- Serve over rice and with your choice of meat!
I had mine a couple of days later with rice and chicken breast, both of which I made in my Instant Pots! Stewed beans are always better the next day and keep in the fridge for up to a week. They also freeze well and will keep in the freezer for 6 months to a year.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you did, let me know in the comments below. If you make stewed beans, let me know your recipe and what you like to have it with. Don’t forget to subscribe and if you have any suggestions for what I should learn to make next, let me know!
Buen provecho! – Sami B.