Boom, FLAVOR. If I had one word to describe this bean recipe from scratch, that would be it.
Of course, with the help of sizzilin’ sofrito, umami-packed sazon, and bubbling tomato sauce, we were able to get these beans to their optimal state, Puerto Rican-style. They are perfectly tender, incredibly delicious, made with affordable ingredients.
The seasonings and flavors used in this recipe are incredibly important if you’re looking for non-basic beans. You know, something that tastes like a meal and not a snack.
For sofrito, I make it homemade. It’s actually pretty easy to whip up and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in an air-tight close container or jar.
You can also purchase sofrito homemade from known brands like Goya, but fresh is always better. They either sell it in a jar or in a tub in the frozen section of the grocery store. The frozen version of Goya’s sofrito is similar to the homemade stuff.
Note, this item can be sometimes be challenging to find, but they are either in the Latin/Ethnic section of the grocery store. Latin grocery stores usually carry them. Additionally, you can also use Goya’s Where to Buy search box.
Besides, all you need for sofrito are the following ingredients:
- Green bell pepper
- Red bell pepper
- Whole garlic
- A bunch of cilantro (2 ounces/~56 grams)
Oh, and a blender. I typically use my Nutribullet and blend in batches, but it has been out of commission, so I just a regular blender for now.
What Is “Habichuelas Guisadas”?
In direct translation, it means stewed beans. It can be prepared in a number of ways from canned or dry beans. Depending on what I have on hand or any time constraints, I’ll switch between the two.
If you’re using canned beans, there is no soaking necessary. Just drain and rinse the beans. Allow everything to simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender. The cook time will be much shorter than dry beans.
Keep in mind, every household or region will have their own way of cooking habichuelas guisadas. I have even seen recipes that include carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, or yam.
If that’s what you like, throw it in the pot. This recipe is inspired by my abuela’s habichuelas guisadas recipe. So we’re going for regular russet potatoes for our starch.
For habichuelas guisadas, red kidney beans or pink beans are typically used. Either one is fine.
How To Make Habichuelas Guisadas From Scratch?
Soak Your Beans
The first step to cooking beans from scratch is to soak them. I’ll usually soak them the night before in a container with cold water. I’ll add enough water that it’s covering the beans by about 2 inches.
When you’re ready to use the beans and they have been soaked for at least 8 hours, drain the water and give them a quick rinse.
Check On Doneness Throughout Cook
After about 30 minutes or so after the beans have simmered, I’ll regularly check the beans’ doneness.
I don’t want my beans to turn out mushy, or stay too tough. When they are tender enough, that’s when I know it’s time to prepare my seasonings and flavors that’ll be combined with the beans.
Check on Water Levels
You want to make sure that your beans have enough water. Evaporation will happen and you want to make sure your beans are at least covered by an inch throughout the entire cook.
Don’t be like me – forgetting about the beans and find them dried out and burnt to a crisp.
In addition to checking on the water levels from the beans, you’ll want to reserve the water later in the recipe. This is where you’re going to have your natural bean flavor.
The water will be re-introduced to the beans along with the sazon, sofrito, tomato sauce, adobo, olives, and potatoes.
Occasionally Stir Beans
You’ll want to occasionally stir the beans to ensure they do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Ready to get your flavor on?
Habichuelas Guisadas From Scratch
- 3/4 cups red kidney beans
- 4 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- 1 packet Goya sazon
- 1/4 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 1 medium russet potato chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup Spanish olives (optional)
- First, rinse beans and remove any foreign objects (rocks, dirt). Place beans into an air-tight container and pour cold water over the beans, covering beans about 2 inches. Soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Once beans are done soaking, pour water out and give beans a quick rinse. Pour beans into a saucepot and add fresh water, covering beans by about 3 inches.
- Next, bring the beans to a boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and simmer beans for 30 to 50 minutes, or until tender.
- In a separate non-stick pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once oil is hot, add sofrito, tomato sauce, 1 packet of sazon, and adobo. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the burner and remove from heat.
- Drain and reserve water from cooked beans. Place the pot with beans back onto the burner and add the sofrito mixture with the beans. Add potatoes and olives, mix everything well.
- Reintroduce the reserved bean water to the beans and add as little or as much as you like. Add additional water if you don't have enough of the reserved bean water.
- Finally, increase temperature and bring everything to a boil. Then, immediately reduce heat to medium. Cover the pot and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- You can add more water to the recipe if necessary. Best to keep an eye on the beans throughout the cook to make sure the beans have enough liquid.
- The cook times may vary due to the size of beans or how much you’re preparing. This recipe is flexible, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out.
- Cook times may also vary, depending on the size of the potatoes. I cut mine about half an inch thick.
- Once you season the beans with the sofrito mix, it will be very salty. However, the potato and beans will soak up a lot of the flavors – don’t fret! At the end of the cook, if it needs additional salt, adjust accordingly. If less, add a bit more water.
If you’re pressed for time, make habichuelas guisadas from canned beans.
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