This favorite Cuban recipe blends red beans and rice with a classic Latin sofrito—pork fat, tomato paste, onion, garlic, bell pepper, herbs, and spices—giving this dish complexity. Prepare it the night before, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate; reheat single servings in the microwave the next day. Serve with Black Pepper Corn Bread.
8 bacon slices
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add oil to pan. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute or just until garlic begins to brown. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add rice, oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Place reserved bacon and bay leaf in pan; stir in water and 2 cans broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf. Stir in remaining can of broth and beans. Cook 5 minutes over low heat or until heated through, stirring frequently. Garnish with green onions, if desired.
I needed to use up some tomato paste and chose this recipe. What a treat! I don't eat meat so I used Morning Star fake bacon. It turned out great. You could even omit the bacon entirely if you wanted to. I served it with some cast iron skillet cornbread and the whole family gave it two thumbs up.