Rice and beans are staple foods in Latin Caribbean food. You've probably heard about rice with black beans and rice with pigeon peas but this recipe combines yellow rice with pink beans.
Pink beans are actually a pinkish-brown in color and have a semi-sweet taste. They are lighter but similar in appearance to red kidney beans.
Theoretically, you can use any type of bean you prefer in this recipe and, to speed things up, canned beans have been used here.
What makes this dish distinct is the use of sofrito (see all about sofrito after the directions) and sazón with annatto (a seasoning available at Latin markets).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup sofrito (homemade or purchased)
- 1 packet sazón with annatto
- Salt to taste
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can pink beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 4 cups water (or chicken broth)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the sofrito and lightly fry for about 1 minute.
- Add the sazón, salt, beans, and rice. Stir to combine the ingredients and coat the rice with color.
- Pour in the water (or chicken broth) and bring to a rolling boil. Allow to boil for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir the rice mixture.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid that will not allow steam to escape. Do not lift the lid during the cooking time.
- Cook on low for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and put the lid back on. Let sit a few minutes before serving as a side dish.
All About Sofrito
A sofrito is a blend of herbs and spices used to season countless dishes, such as stews, beans, rice, and occasionally meat.
Sofritos exist in Latin Caribbean and other Latin American countries and comes from the Spanish word which means "to fry something."
Spanish sofrito uses tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, paprika, and olive oil. Caribbean versions range from green to orange to bright red and vary in heat from mild to pungent to spicy.
In the Dominican Republic, sofrito is called sazón and is made with vinegar and annatto for color. In Puerto Rico, sofrito is called recaito and it includes the herb culantro and ajies dulces (sweet chili peppers).
In Cuba, sofrito is made with tomatoes, red bell peppers, and ham. In the Yucatan area of Mexico, sofritos are extra-spicy with the addition of habaneros.
Sofritos can be added at the start of cooking but, in other recipes, it isn’t added until the end of the cooking. And in yet other recipes, it's used as a topping sauce for grilled meats and fish.
To further confuse things, an Italian sofrito is made with chopped celery, green peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs sautéed in olive oil and used to season soups, sauces, and meat dishes.