Sunday, January 20, 2008

Habichuelas Coloradas (Cuban Red Beans)

This is the quick weeknight version, using canned beans. Nothing makes me happier than a big plate of rice and beans. Except maybe a big plate of Virgil's ribs. Or a big plate of green papaya salad. Or a giant bowl of steamers. Or else a bag full of hot char sui bao. Or...well, are the beans:

1 small link of chorizo, sliced in half lengthwise and then cut 1/8 inch half moons
Olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped into fine dice
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped into fine dice
1 1/2 - 2 cups of tomato sauce or tomato paste thinned with a little water
(In a pinch, commercially packaged Goya sofrito could be substituted for the pepper, onion and tomato sauce)
1/2 medium potato, peeled and sliced into 8 pieces (or equal amount of calabaza)
Ground cumin to taste
Oregano to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Salt and pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can good quality red or black beans drained and rinsed
1/3 cup green olives with pimentos
A splash of vinegar-based hot sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Saute the chorizo in a pot over medium heat, until it is lightly browned and some of the oil has rendered out. Remove sausage from the pot and set aside. Add a little olive oil to the pot if necessary to create a film of oil, and saute the onion and peppers until softened - 5 minutes. Add the spices, tomato sauce and potatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, covered, until the potato is cooked through -- about 12 minutes, taking care not to let the mixture burn. Add more tomato sauce if it starts to get dry. Add the garlic, beans, olives and hot sauce and cook until everythign is heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add chopped cilantro and mix thoroughly just before serving.
Serve with plenty of rice.
Serves 3-4


  1. You're welcome, Janet! Enjoy. I add a LOT of fresh ground cumin to these, fyi. That's what will give them that authentic flavor you're looking for. Instead of salt, pepper and garlic powder, a lot of people add commercially available adobo.