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Rice, Corn, and Sausages

(by Rose Bianco)


This dish is dear to my heart. It used to be "make do" food, when we did not have meat, but I still love it, and so does my family.

Sofrito:

1 small onion, chopped

5 or 6 garlic cloves

1 green or red bell pepper, chopped

large handful of cilantro, stemmed removed

1/4 c. olive oil

Rice:

2 T. corn oil

optional: 1 oz. salt pork, cut into cubes

2 - 3 T. sofrito

2 cans (4.6 oz. each) Vienna sausages, sliced

4 oz. canned tomato sauce

4 - 8 oz. canned corn

1/2 T. chopped olives

1/2 T. capers

1 t. salt

1/2 packet Sazon seasoning

2 c. short grain rice, washed and drained

Red beans:

2 t. corn oil

1 T. sofrito

4 oz. tomato sauce

1/2 t. salt, or to taste

1/2 T. chopped olives

1/2 T. capers

1 russet potato, peeled and cut into chunks

15 oz. can red kidney beans, not drained

optional: 1/4 t. cumin

optional: 1 bay leaf

optional: 1/4 green pepper, chopped

Place onion, garlic, pepper, cilantro, and olive oil in a blender, and blend until it’s a smooth, thick paste with a little texture.

(Sofrito can be refrigerated for several weeks.)

In a large cast iron pot, heat enough corn oil to film the bottom.

Add salt pork, if using, and sauté until browned.

Add 2 - 3 T. sofrito, plus the sausages with their liquid, tomato sauce, corn, olives, and capers.

Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.

Add salt and Sazon.

Add the rice to the pot plus enough hot water to cover the rice by about 1/2 inch.

Simmer over medium heat until the liquid entirely evaporates. There will be little holes on the surface of the rice.

Stir the mixture, cover, and continue cooking over low heat for about 40 minutes. Don't mess with it too much or it will get mushy.

To prepare the beans, heat oil in a heavy pan over low heat.

Add sofrito, tomato sauce, salt, olives, and capers.

Simmer for 5 minutes, then add potato, kidney beans with their liquid, and about half a can of water.

Add cumin, bay leaf, and green pepper if using.

Simmer for 1/2 hour, adding water if necessary to prevent burning.

(Read Bittersweet, the story that accompanies this recipe.)


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