Puerto Rican Rice and Beans (Arroz con Habichuelas)
Recipe type: Rice Dishes
Serves: 4
  • 4 Cups water
  • 8 ounces smoked ham hock
  • 1 Cup dried pinto beans
  • 1 Cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil with a dash of
  • sesame oil
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 15 ounces can peeled plum tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground peppercorns
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons capers
  1. Place the water and ham hock in a pressure cooker, check to make sure the steam release holes are clear and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook 20 minutes more. Add the rice, and when the pressure cooker "hisses," cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. While the rice and beans cook, heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onion and garlic until the onion becomes translucent. Add the red pepper, jalapeno peppers, oregano and tomatoes, stirring and chopping as you go. Add 1/4 Cups of the reserved tomato juice, half of the salt and half of the pepper. Lower the heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. After the rice and beans have cooked, remove the ham hock, slice off 2 ounces of lean meat and reserve. Add the cooked rice and beans to the pepper-tomato mixture in the skillet. Stir in the reserved ham hock meat, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the capers and the remaining salt and pepper.
  4. To serve: Spoon into bowls and garnish with the remaining cilantro.
The recipe is very flexible in the type of chiles used. We usually blend a couple of types for complexity. The dish is also great for splashing on your favorite hot sauce too. We also usually add beer instead of water when things are looking a bit too dry. It also can be fun to mix in a few different types of beans, like black beans and pintos. It isn't a requirement to use a pressure cooker, but it is fast and the flavor from the ham hock to the beans is greater.

Nutritional information: Per serving (recipe makes four servings): Calories 311 Fat 4 gm Sat. Fat 1 gm Calories from fat 12% Cholesterol 6 gm Sodium 110 mg Fiber 7 gm
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