Cuban style rice and beans



Mildred Hackathorn of Canton, Ohio, wanted a recipe for rice and beans like the dish is made in Puerto Rico and Cuba.

Donald Champion of Salisbury, N.C., sent in a recipe he had from his friend Teresa Gonzalez, who along with her husband emigrated from Cuba in the early '60s. He says, "It is an authentic Cuban recipe, and is very tasty."

I tested this using canned beans instead of the dried, which require overnight soaking and boiling. That made the dish quick and easy to prepare, yet it was still packed with flavor and just the right degree of spice. It can be served as a main dish, or it would work well as a side for a wide variety of entrees.

If you are looking for a hard-to-find recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail

The nutrition analyses accompanying recipes in today's Taste section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.

Black Beans and Rice (Frijoles Negros)

Serves 6 as an entree

1 pound dried or canned black beans

1 bay leaf

1 medium green pepper, seeded and quartered

2/3 cup pure Spanish olive oil

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped

2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons cider vinegar (optional)

1 teaspoon rocotillo pepper or finely chopped green chile (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

If using dry beans, rinse in cold water, pick over and soak overnight in cold water. The next day, check that the water is still covering the beans by 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Add more water if needed. Pour into a saucepan and add the bay leaf and the quartered green pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until the beans are tender and they have almost cracked open, about 2 hours. Check beans while cooking and add more hot water as needed. When finished, remove bay leaf.

If using canned beans, omit soaking and boiling steps (and the bay leaf and quartered pepper). In a skillet heat the oil over low heat until it is fragrant, then add garlic, onion and chopped green pepper and cook, stirring until onion is translucent. Add the cumin, vinegar and rocotillo pepper or green chile, if using, and mix well. Add to cooked beans, mix well and cook over low heat covered until the beans have cracked open, about 30 to 40 minutes. Season to taste and serve over cooked rice.

Per serving: 470 calories, 17 grams protein, 25 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 17 grams fiber, no cholesterol, 6 milligrams sodium

Recipe requests

Donna Parrott of Baltimore is looking for a recipe for tomato bread. She sampled it in Louisiana several years ago and has been unable to find a recipe for it.

Kathleen Dibiase of Cranbury, N.J., is looking for a recipe for soft chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies.

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