When it comes to my favorite fall activities, at the top of the list is indulging in decadent comfort foods, my favorite being my Puerto Rican abuela's famous habichuelas guisadas con arroz, or stewed beans over rice. With the help of classic island seasonings such as sofrito, sazón, and adobo, my abuela's mouthwatering habichuelas recipe transforms ordinary kidney beans into a rich stew of soft beans that pairs nicely with rice and a slice of avocado. Although it has been over six years since I've enjoyed my grandmother's beans, learning how to make them on my own has brought me all the warmth and comfort for these cold fall and winter days.
Some ingredients in this recipe can be substituted — for example, the ham can be switched for another cured meat such as kielbasa or vegan chorizo. Additionally, if you're using dry beans, make sure to soak them in water overnight to shorten their cooking time. But other ingredients like sofrito and sazón are critical to getting the flavors right in this dish. While you can find the dynamic seasonings used in this recipe at your local grocery store, using homemade versions of this trifecta makes these stewed beans all the more delicious.
To make this dish vegetarian, use vegan chorizo instead of ham and vegetable stock instead of chicken broth.
Ingredients1/2 cup ham steak, diced
1/4 cup Puerto Rican sofrito
1 1/2 teaspoons sazón
1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup potatoes, cubed
3 1/2 cups red or pink kidney beans, drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6-8 pimento-stuffed green olives