Spanish Rice and Beans

Growing up, I had a hispanic stepmother who taught me how to make this recipe. She used a spice, called sofrito, in many of her recipes.  It is a wonderful mixture of vegetables and herbs all chopped up in a blender or food processor.  As far as I’m concerned, the star of this mixture is the cilantro, although my father would have disagreed.

Sofrito is made with cilantro, onions, peppers, hot peppers, and other ingredients, so when you blend them all together, it is very aromatic to say the least.  My german-blooded, meat and potato, father always hated when she made this, but to me it is oh-so-good.

Luckily, I live in an area which has a high number of hispanics, so I can by the sofrito in the freezer section of my local grocery store.  If I get brave enough to try making it from scratch, I will be sure to post the recipe.

In my teens, 20s, and 30s, I was blessed with good metabolism.  That, and I smoked. (A stimulant.)  Not so much in my 40s.  So, as a teen and young woman, I read all the fashion magazines, with all the teeny, tiny models.  I was constantly trying to stay skinny.  One of things that I read was that you shouldn’t rinse rice or pasta because you would be washing away the nutrients.

So when my stepmother showed me how to make the rice, and she rinsed it before cooking it, I argued with her that it was not the right way to do it.  She replied, “My grandmother rinsed the rice, my mother rinsed the rice, I rinse the rice, and you’re going to rinse the rice.” To this day this still makes me laugh 🙂 Enter the rice cooker!

My husband is filipino and his mother had given him this rice cooker, so we brought it to our new house.  I had no idea how to use it until one day a hispanic friend of my husbands was over, and he told me what to do.  The best part is, you really don’t have to rinse the rice!

The Rice

1 c. white rice

1 1/2 c. water

2 t. olive oil

Put all the ingredients into the rice cooker, cover, and turn it on.  This one just turns off when the rice is done.  If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can make it over the stove.  The directions usually call for twice the amount of water to rice, but that usually makes mush.  Try starting with a little less water, you can always add more at the end if you need to.

The Beans

2-3 T. of sofrito

1 T. Olive oil

1 15.5 oz. can of beans (any kind)

2/3 of a 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1/2 packet of Sazon (Goya section)

I cooked the sofrito in the oil for a few minutes, then added the beans, with its liquid, which is why I try to use the lower sodium versions now available.  I add the tomato sauce and Sazon, bring to boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is done.  The Sazon adds a lot of flavor, but the reason I only use 1/2 of the packet is because there is MSG in it and I try to avoid using too much of it.

This recipe makes about 3-4 servings, depending on portion size.  You can serve it separately or all mixed together, which is how I like it.

Enjoy! ~Nancy

2 thoughts on “Spanish Rice and Beans

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