People have asked me: "What makes this recipe Puerto Rican?"
My answer: Because I learned it from my husband's grandmother, who grew up in Puerto Rico.
This is one of my husband's favorite meals and I knew if I was going to come close to replicating it, I would have to learn from the master. So I spent an afternoon in the kitchen learning tips and tricks from his grandmother. She doesn't use actual measurements, so the ones I state below are my best guess based on how I make it. The recipe is fairly simple and easy to adjust based on your own tastes. I tried to adjust the recipe slightly (by adding a tad more tomato sauce), but my husband picked up on it immediately! I couldn't believe it. But, unless you're serving it to him, you should be fine.
Step 1: Ingredients
Jasmine rice - quantity based on number of dinner guests (My good friend told me that jasmine rice is the best white rice and I've always trusted her judgment on this and use it exclusively. Johnie's grandmother, Alma, confirmed that you should use jasmine rice for this recipe, with the only exception being yellow Spanish rice.)
Pinto beans (Alma uses Bush's. I sometimes use Luck's brand.)
Goya Sofrito tomato cooking base
Goya Recaito culantro cooking base
Sazon Goya con culantro y achiote seasoning
Step 2: Prepare Rice
I did not have a rice cooker before my afternoon in the kitchen with Alma. "Buy a rice cooker," she told me. I listened and I have absolutely loved the investment. So, if you don't have a rice cooker, there is a silent step of buying one implied here.
Follow your rice cooker instructions for the amount of rice you wish to make. Add a little oil and salt before starting the cooking cycle.
Step 3: Prepare Beans
In a small pot over medium-low heat, combine beans and other ingredients. The following is an estimation of seasonings per each 15 ounce can of pinto beans you have. (If you are making four or more cans of pinto beans, you can adjust the measurements down to fit your taste.)
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tbsp. sofrito
1/2 tbsp. recaito
1/2 packet of Sazon Goya seasoning
Stir together and simmer. This can be ready to serve as soon as it is heated through, but the longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors meld together.
Step 4: Serve
This can be served as a stand-alone meal, but you have many options to add to it. You can serve a meat, like grilled chicken with adobo seasoning, salsa, guacamole, or taco-seasoned ground beef. My husband's favorite side is Goya Bacalaitos (Codfish fritters). Just follow the instructions on the box.
Johnie would also want me to tell you the meal goes perfectly with a Malta India to drink.
The fritters do not save well as leftovers, but the rice and beans are still yummy as leftovers the next day.
Hope you enjoy a little taste of Puerto Rico!