When a Puerto Rican thinks of "mom's cooking," he or she thinks of the way mother served stewed red beans with rice. As a great lover of beans, I can appreciate them cooked in almost any manner, and as a chef, I am always creating new ways of preparing these wonderful legumes. In this new dish, as with other stewed bean dishes to follow, I make use of precooked or puréed vegetables, such as squash, carrots, turnips, and sweet potatoes. I control the consistency of the sauce without altering the taste of the beans. Using yellow vegetables, I supplement the nutritional value of the beans without adding the additional starch found in the tubers.
Incorporating diced tubers, such as malanga (giant-sized taro), yautia (taro), and yuca (cassava), is a culinary custom in traditional Puerto Rican home cooking. The glutinous property of these tubers mixes with the natural stock of the beans, creating a perfect emulsifier that holds the beans together. Although the result is terrific, the naturally nutty flavor of the bean tends to become subordinated to the intense flavor of the starchy tubers.
In my new style of Puerto Rican bean cookery, I offer a method where the combined properties of the vegetables act as natural emulsifiers and sweeteners. And the sum of all these ingredients interacting and blending together renders an exquisite new way to enjoy the bean at its best.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with White or Yellow Rice. This is also good alongside Avocado Salad or Avocado Salad with Chayotes.
New & Traditional Puerto Rican Cuisine
by Robert Rosado & Judith Healy Rosado
(Reprinted with permission.)
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