Spanish White Beans and Rice Recipe - Empedrado de Arroz

Spanish White Beans and Rice - Empedrado de Arroz
Spanish White Beans and Rice - Empedrado de Arroz. (c) Lisa Sierra 2013 Licensed to About.com Inc.
    95 mins
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The name empedrado comes from the verb empedrar, which means to cover or fill with rocks or piedras in Spanish. This dish is empedrado de arroz, which is made with almost equal parts white beans and soupy rice, mixed with tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers. It is a wonderful main dish for autumn and winter dinners.

Empedrado is also a bean salad typical of Cataluna and the eastern coast of Spain, down through Valencia and Murcia, especially in the summer.

What You'll Need

  • 1 lb (500 gr) dry white beans
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large potato or 2 small potatoes
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 long Italian green pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8-10 oz (236-295 ml) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz (400 gr) medium grain rice
  • 1 Tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 3-4 threads saffron
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

Soak Beans Overnight in Water. Remove any dirt or debris from beans. Rinse under cool water. Place beans into a large pot or bowl, and cover with water to soak. Use plenty of water, making sure that there is at least one inch of water over the top of the beans. Beans should be soaked at least 8 hours. Make sure that as beans absorb the water, the beans on top do not dry out.

Drain and rinse beans. Place in a large pot.

Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender. Cooking time will vary, depending on type and age of beans.  After cooking, drain beans and allow to cool. (If using a pressure cooker to cook beans, see instructions at the bottom of recipe.

Prepare the vegetables. Peel and slice potatoes. Cut the tomato into 8 pieces. Peel and coarsely chop the onion. Remove stem, seeds and veins from pepper and cut into pieces about 1/4-inch in size.

Prepare the sofrito. Pour olive oil into a large frying pan and heat. Fry the potatoes briefly. Add onions and green pepper and saute until onions are translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Combine the sofrito and beans together into a large pot. Stir in rice and approximately 3 cups of water. Heat on high. Add paprika and saffron.  Simmer about 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked, adding water as needed to maintain plenty of thick broth.

Remove from heat and allow it to "rest" for 5 minutes. Serve hot in traditional clay bowls.

Cooking Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Place beans in pressure cooker and pour in enough water to cover. Lock on top and raise heat to high. When pressure has built up, and it is "hissing," reduce the heat. Cook for 7-8 minutes at a steady pressure. Remove from heat and allow pressure to be released.  Open and check beans for doneness.

Safety Note: Be sure to follow the cooker's instruction manual. Many pressure cookers now allow cooks to place the cooker in the sink and run cold water over the top to rapidly release the pressure.