Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bean's Casserole (Cazuela de Frijoles)

Cazuela de frijoles is another version of the Colombian national dish: "Bandeja Paisa". This time all the ingredients are served separate to be mixed at the table before eating.

Ingredients for 6 servings
  • 2 cups kidney red beans soaked overnight
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 carrot peeled and halved
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup chopped scallion
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon annato or achiote (powder)
  • 1 pound pork belly (chicharron) cut in 1/2 inch bits
  • 1 ripe plantain or banana diced
  • 1 ripe avocado diced
  • 2 arepas
  • 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • oil to fry
  • steamed rice to serve

Add the beans with enough water to cover in a pressure cooker. Add the onion halved, carrot, garlic cloves, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper and cook for 25-30 minutes until the beans are tender. Set aside.

To make the sofrito:

In a fry pan, heat the oil and add the achiote, mix well. Add the scallion and fry for 3 minutes, add the dice tomatoes, cumin, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.

Once the beans are tender, remove the carrot and onion and blend with some of the beans' soup; add to the beans and stir well. Add the tomato puree and the sofrito and cook for another 10 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Season the beans with salt and pepper. You want the beans soupy. Keep them on the stove in low temperature until your serve.

In a bowl,  salt and pepper the pieces of pork belly and sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour, mix well. Fry in abundant oil at 250 degrees until brown and crispy.

 Drain over paper towel.

 Sprinkle the remaining flour over the plantain, mix with your hand and fry until golden and crisp. Drain over paper towel and set aside.

Prepare the arepas (recipe link) or follow the instructions of your favorite cornmeal brand. Cut the cooked arepas in 1 inch strips.

To serve:

Place some rice in soup bowl, pour the soupy beans to 3/4 of the bowl. Serve the chicharron (porkbelly), avocado, arepa bits and plantain in small bowls and lime wedges, so everything can get mixed on the table.