If we had anything to thank colonization for, it is the mix of cultures. The melting pot that the world has become over the centuries and with that, the mixture of flavors and the similarities among the different gastronomies even when there are thousands of miles separating one recipe to the other. Maybe not in steps and preparation, but there’s a clear similarity in the ingredients used in each country.
Think of rice and how it easily became such a key element in many countries. Production and exporting are as important as consumption processes and different cuisines use rice in different ways, but in the same amount. Italy, China, Thailand and Mexico all find their best recipes in rice and the possibilities this versatile ingredient has to offer.
Central-America and the Caribbean are no exception to this and it’s no surprise rice is just one of the delicious choices these vibrant cuisines use. With thousands of islands included and one of the richest lands and climate in the world, The Caribbean is the perfect area for planting and harvesting a lot of different vegetables. Proximity to the coast makes available a great deal of seafood options. And reception to change and modernity make the top of the cake.
Tradition and innovation go hand in hand and find a firm floor to keep walking among the greatest cuisines in the world.
A legacy in a dish
If tradition is to be discussed, we must certainly talk about what can be the staple dish to Caribbean cuisine: rice and beans. Among the many red bean recipes you might find on the Internet, Cuban rice or rice and beans is probably the one with the highest amount of clicks. And there’s a reason for that. This particular meal represents unity and family in the area and it’s one, if not the most popular meal in Central-American land, particularly among Cuban families.
Rice and beans take any young adult back to their childhood and that aroma that seems to be only found when moms were gracefully moving around the kitchen.
Apart from the emotional factor, rice recipes are filling and they can be very nutritious when combined with ingredients such as beans. Not to mention it’s easily made and easily stored when made in bigger amounts.
Just two steps, one meal, many memories and the feeling of visiting this vibrant part of the world, give this rice and beans recipe a go and enjoy your Cuban meal.
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic.
- Olive oil.
- Sliced bacon.
- 1 onion.
- 1 green pepper.
- 1½ cups of rice.
- 1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder.
- Bay leaves.
- 1 can of red beans.
- 2 cups of water.
- 1 tbsp of dry wine vinegar.
- 1 or 2 green onions.
- Black pepper.
- Over a cutting board, half some cloves of garlic and season them with salt. Let that sit and then mince them with the help of a knife.
- Take a large pan and pour some extra-virgin olive oil, heat it up and place some bacon. Take the heat to medium and stir continuously so that bacon fries a little bit, cook for about five minutes.
- In the same pan, add previously peeled and sliced onions and chopped green peppers. Add the garlic paste too and mix. Cook everything until the onion is translucent, for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the rice and give everything a good stir. Season the mix with chicken bouillon powder, oregano, black pepper and add some bay leaves.
- Once the rice is all soaked in the mix, add a can of beans, liquid and everything. Add two cups of water and one tablespoon of wine vinegar. Mix and keep stirring.
- Cover the pan with the lid and take the heat down to simmer. Let everything cook four about forty minutes, during that time, do not lift the lid.
- After that time passes, turn off the heat and let everything rest for an extra ten minutes without lifting the lid yet.
- Before serving, remove the lid and top everything with some previously chopped green onions.
This recipe is a great option for meal-prep. You can make a good amount of it, store it in an air-tight container and re-cook it later just by adding half a cup of water to the pot. When stored, Cuban rice lasts up to three days in the refrigerator.