Habichuelas Guisadas (Stewed Beans)
Chef Reina Gascon-Lopez
- 1 1lb bag dried beans (pinto, red, or pink)
- 1 small smoked ham hock
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- Water, as needed
- Neutral cooking oil, as needed
- 1/2 cup diced ham
- 1/4 cup fresh Simple Sofrito
- 2 tbsp diced pimentos, drained
- 1 tbsp capers, drained
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups pressure cooked beans (or 2 cans, drained)
- 1 small Yukon gold potato, cubed
- 1/2 cup calabaza squash, cubed (Things to remember)
- 2-4 cups water or chicken broth, as needed
- Spice Tribe Smoky Sazón Spice Blend, to taste
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Cooked rice, for serving
- Sliced avocado or a sunny-side egg, optional
If using dried beans:
- To pressure cook the beans, pick through (discarding odd ends and pebbles if needed) and add the bag of dry beans to your pressure cooker with the smoked ham hock, onion, bay leaves, and enough water to fill the cooking chamber. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and pressure cook the beans on high for 45 minutes on the natural release function.
- Once safe to open the pressure cooker, discard the onion and bay leaves. Save two cups of cooked beans and then portion out the rest in plastic deli containers to cool and freeze for another day. Then, at this point, whenever you want to make these beans again, just use the frozen beans and add everything to the pot to come together.
- In a medium to large saucepan and over medium heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom. Then, add the cubed ham. Stir well, until the ham is slightly crisp, about 5-6 minutes. After about 5 minutes, add the sofrito, diced pimentos, capers, and tomato paste. Still well to combine and sauté for about 3-4 minutes. You want to bloom the flavors here.
- Then, add the cubed potato and pumpkin. Top with the cooked beans and add the water or chicken broth. Now, this is where you can eyeball it to your preference. For me, I like very liquidy, saucy beans because that sauce is so delicious with the rice when it’s all mixed together. If you want it thicker, use less liquid. Do whatever you like! This is a very forgiving dish and you can honestly make it to you or your family’s liking. You can also scale the recipe back with one can of beans if you’re cooking for one and you’ll still have leftovers for the next day.
- Season with Spice Tribe Smoky Sazón, kosher salt, and black pepper to your liking. Stew the beans for about 10-15 minutes. Since the beans are already cooked, you just have to make sure the pumpkin and potato are both fork tender. Serve over hot, steamed rice. Traditionally, we have a slice of avocado with our rice and beans with dinner. Fun fact: in Puerto Rico, when you put an egg over your rice and beans, it’s called a matrimonio. A marriage, which trust me, is everything.