Stewed red beans, or as we call it “Habichuelas Guisadas,” is another signature dish that is very popular in the average Dominican household. It is an integral part of “La Bandera” and when cooked right, they are so flavorful and delicious that you can eat them all by their lonesome self.
To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
1 16oz bag of dried red beans (may substitute with 2 cans of red beans)
1 Small Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green bell Pepper
1 Cup of fresh Cilantro
1 tsp Ground Oregano
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp Oil (may use Olive oil or Vegetable oil)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 Cup of Acorn Squash cut into cubes
2 stalks of celery
2 Habanero Chiles (aji gustoso, the green ones, not red since they are VERY spicy, if available, unfortunately I couldn’t find any for this round)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper (optional)
I highly recommend you use dried beans to maximize the flavor of the dish. I use the Goya Dominican red beans that come in 16oz bags, however, if you want to make this one day and you haven’t prepared the dried beans ahead, you can certainly use canned red beans (just make sure to rinse the beans from the can before cooking them).
To start, pour the beans into a large container. They will need to soak in alot of water overnight, so pick a container that is spacious. I am using a medium sized pot to soak mine.
Rinse with fresh water and drain.
Once the beans are rinsed, add plenty of fresh water for them to soak overnight (add enough water to cover them by about 3 inches.)
Once they have soaked over night, they will look very plump, but they will still be hard if you squeeze one.
Take 3 cloves of fresh garlic and chop them (or mash them like I prefer to do in a “Pilon” ).
Add the olive oil to a pot and put on medium – high heat, add the garlic.
Add some salt (I start off with 1tsp, later on when the dish is nearly done, you can adjust the salt level) and stir to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn.
Once the garlic is fragrant, add the beans (with the water they soaked in). If using canned beans, rinse and add them to the garlic oil now with about 4 – 5 cups of water.
Bring the beans up to a boil, then half cover them and let them and let them boil on medium – high heat for an hour.
When the beans have been boiling for an hour, start chopping and adding the remaining vegetables to the pot:
I like to leave the celery in large pieces and pull them out when the dish is done cooking.
The onion and the peppers.
I like to cut the acorn squash into bite sized pieces.
Trim the ends off of the cilantro, then chop and add to the pot with the other vegetables.
Once the vegetables have been added, dissolve the tomato paste in the beans with 2 spoons to make sure it doesn’t stay in one clump.
Add the oregano and stir.
Once the remaining ingredients have been added, stir well, half cover and keep heat on medium high and let it cook for another hour.
Uncover and stir the beans occasionally to ensure they aren’t sticking. They will start to get thick and if the beans seem like they are drying out, you can add some water to loosen them.
After adding the vegetables and letting cook for an additional hour, do a taste test and add more salt if needed. You may also add pepper if desired. Take one of the beans and taste it, if it’s tender, the beans are cooked. If they still feel a little hard, continue simmering until they are soft (adding water if necessary). For me, usually 2 hours is enough time. The beans should be thick, however, if they seem loose, you can mash some of the beans with two spoons, or take a cup of the beans and liquid and blend in a blender, then add to the pot.
When using canned beans, after adding the vegetables let simmer for half an hour to forty-five minutes.
Once the beans are cooked, serve with some fresh white rice (or not) and enjoy!