Habichuelas Guisadas (Stewed Beans)

Stewed beans are such a popular request in my household that I often make it even when I’m lacking a few of the ingredients—hence the abundance of optional components below. The quick-and-dirty version is fine in a pinch, but if you really want to taste this at its best, prepare as written. Each of the optional ingredients provides another layer of flavor – the ham adds some salt, the potato makes the dish just a bit heartier and helps to thicken the sauce, and the cilantro adds an herby freshness. (Please note that without the additional ingredients, this recipe is enough for only about 6 servings.)

4 ounces boneless thick-cut ham, diced [optional]
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon sazón
2 cups (15.5 ounces) canned kidney beans, drained
1 medium (6 ounce) potato, diced [optional]
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons recaíto
1/2 ounce fresh cilantro, chopped [optional]

medium (2-quart) pot, with lid
measuring cups and spoons
cutting board
chef’s knife
cooking spoon

1. Combine ham, oil, and sazón in pot over medium-high heat. Sauté until ham is lightly browned—about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, dice potatoes.
2. Add diced potatoes, beans, tomato sauce, water, and recaíto. Stir well, then let cook until mixture begins to boil—about 3 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Simmer until sauce has thickened and potatoes are tender—about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse and chop cilantro.
4. Stir in chopped cilantro leaves.

• Thick-cut ham is usually labeled “cooking ham” or “ham steak” in the supermarket. You can also swap out ham for chorizo.
• No ham? Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or replace water with chicken stock.
• I don’t typically peel my potatoes.
• Traditionally, habichuelas guisadas is made with calabaza (West Indian pumpkin), but I use potato, for the sake of convenience.

25 minutes

8 servings

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