Stewed Beans, Rice and Beans - 03/22/12 02:43 PM
Stewed Beans can be made with many different legumes. In Belize however, it is made with Red Kidney Beans. You can add some type of salt meat like pigtails, ham, brisket or sausages or you can leave them bare. I like to add Polska Kielbasa to the beans along with one large Jalapeño pepper placed in the pot right at the end.
Belize Style Stew Beans Recipe
In Belize stew beans are the start of many traditional meals and many Belizeans enjoy beans at three meals a day. This stew beans recipe can be paired with dozens of Belizean foods: stew beans and rice, with stew chicken, or with fried plantains for example. Or stew beans with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Or stew beans with johnny cakes. The list goes on and on. Think: Bubba from the film Forrest Gump and his amazing list of what you can do with shrimp. Belize News Post can guarantee there are more Belizean meals served with a variation of stew beans than you can imagine.
The recipe for Belizean Stew Beans is incredibly simple. Prep time is about 5 minutes, and cook time is approximately 4 hours.
- 1 lb Dried Fresh Beans (beans that float are not fresh), Kidney Beans, or Black Beans
- Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 Salt
- Salted Pork or Several Slices of Bacon (for flavor)
Recipe Instructions for Cooking Belize Style Stew Beans
- The first step is choosing your beans. You may choose any kind of bean but in Belize the options are typically limited to black beans or red kidney beans. Use red kidney beans if you intend to make Belizean Rice and Beans. Or “long-water” beans and rice. Use black beans if you would like to make some perfect Belizean garnachas later.
- Step two: CLEAN YOUR BEANS. Rinse the beans, cover them with cool fresh water. If it floats it’s got to go. If it’s cracked it’s also got to go. If it’s not a bean take it out (rocks, pebbles, dried up old beans). Don’t be surprised if you end up with a lot of rejects.
- A side note: Belize News Post can attest to Belizean diversity on so many levels. It is pretty easy to think of what makes Belizeans uniquely different from each other. But one thing that brings all together is cleanliness: Belizeans are clean freaks. You would be hard pressed to find a smelly Belizean. Growing up I had friends who would take a bath before playing the sweatiest games of basketball to avoid being smelly. Likewise Belizeans take extra care with food preparation. In this case even the most processed, quality controlled beans are subject to the Belizean due diligence to make them clean. The truth is, in Belize processed beans are a new thing. There was a time when the beans in the market came from a farmer. Fresh and often with some pebbles.
- In Belize the next step is to soak your beans for several hours or as long as over night. If you do they cook faster. We skipped this step because we wanted to eat: TODAY!
- In a large pot for added taste you may fry some bacon or salted pork (something like a cured salted pig tail) in the pot where you will boil the beans. This is for flavor, and luxury. But then again the ratio of beans to water in Belize can be a luxury. You decide. We like cooking beans in a gallon or five litre enameled cast iron pot.
- If you opt out of using bacon or pork because you a traditionalist or a vegan: add enough veggie oil to the botton of the pot to just coat the bottom and prevent sticking.
- Add the CLEAN beans to the pot.
- Add at least enough water to the pot to cover the beans. For 1lb of beans we added about 8 cups of water.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer. You want high heat without over boils. Let the beans simmer and stew for several hours. We like to cook the beans about 3 hours. Cook time will depend on the quality of your beans freshness.
- Keep an eye on the pot, you may need to add some water if it cooks too low. Avoid burning your beans.
- Once the beans have cooked and are soft enough to eat: season the beans. Add the diced onion, garlic, and salt to taste. Salt will depend on if you used bacon or salted pork. SALT TO TASTE.
- Let the cooked an reasoned beans rest about an hour before enjoying them with flour tortillas. The beans will need some time to soak up the seasoning.