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1 cup of dry beans (1/2 of a 1 pound bag)
or, 1 can of beans with its liquid
2 ounces of achiote oil
3 Tablespoons chopped onion
1/4 cup of sliced red pepper
2 ounces of sofrito
1 medium sized garlic clove, chopped
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon of onion powder
pinch of black pepper
4 ounces of tomato sauce
1 beef bouillion cube
1 ounce of salted fatback (tocino)
2 ounces of cooking ham
1/4 - 1/3 cup of squash (butternut) or calabaza, cubed
pinch of oregano
pinch of chopped recao or cilantro
If using dry beans: a- Rinse the dry beans in a strainer or colander, and remove any small stones or damaged beans. b- If you have the time, simply soak the cup of dry beans in cold water overnight. c- If you are making the beans the same day, bring the beans to a boil for 2 minutes in 3 cups of water. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 2 - 3 hours. d- Discard the water using a strainer.
If using canned beans, no prior preparation is necessary.
1 - On medium flame, bring the the achiote oil, the salted fatback, and the ham to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan. Since the fatback and ham are optional, if you are not using them, simply heat the oil and proceed to step 3.
2 - Simmer the ham and fatback for 2 -3 minutes until you see them getting golden colored.
3 - Add the chopped onion, and simmer approximately 1 - 2 minutes, until onion is translucent.
4 - Add the sliced red bell pepper, and simmer again for 1 - 2 minutes.
5 - Add the sofrito.
6 - Simmer until the sofrito starts to thicken - this could take up to 3 to 10 minutes, depending upon the heat of the stove, and whether your sofrito is at room temperature, or still slightly frozen. Notice the simmering action in the video, and adjust your heat accordingly.
7 - Add the chopped garlic, and simmer approximately 1 minute. Stir it, so that it doesn't burn!
8 - Add the beans, and the water. Let it come back to a simmer.
9 - Add the onion powder, the black pepper, and the tomato sauce.
10- Lower the flame to LOW. Cover, and let simmer: approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour for dry beans, 10 minutes for canned beans.
11- For dry beans only: test a bean or two for doneness during this time. If they are still firm, keep simmering. The times are approximate, since it depends upon the type of bean, the length of time they were soaked, and your preference of firmness.
12- If you are using the optional squash, add it at this time.
13- Add the beef bouillion cube, and a pinch of oregano.
14- Cover and simmer another 10 - 15 minutes on Low heat. Test the squash for doneness, and keep simmering until the squash is soft.
15- Add the optional pinch of chopped cilantro.
16- Remove from heat, and serve.