Rice and Red Beans

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

NotesAlcaparrado, a mixture of olives, pimientos, and capers sold in bottles, is widely available. There are versions made with pitted and unpittled olives. Go for the pitted version. If you can't find it, substitute an equal amount of coarsely chopped olives suffed with pimientos. Throw in a teaspoon of capers if you like.

Culantro is not cilantro. It has long leaves with tapered tips and serrated edges. When it comes to flavor, culantro is like cilantro times ten.

Makes8 to 10 servings


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturehot & spicy, meaty, salty


  • One 16-ounce bag red kidney beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Sofrito
  • ¼ cup alcaparrado or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives (see Notes3)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons fine sea or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chicken Broth, homemade or store-bought, as needed (5 to 6 cups)
  • 4 culantro leaves (see Notes) or ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Place the beans, ham hock, and bay leaves in a 3-quart saucepan. Pour in enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface and then adjust the heat so that the liquid is simmering. Cook the beans until tender, adding water as necessary to keep the beans submerged as they cook, about 2 hours. Add less water during the last half hour or so of cooking. The idea is to end up with tender beans and just enough liquid to cover them. See Beans on page 96 for more pointers on cooking them.

  2. Heat the oil in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Stir in the sofrito and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the sofrito begins to sizzle. Stir in the alcaparrado and cumin. Add the rice, salt, and pepper and stir until the rice is coated with oil and seasonings and turns chalky.

  3. Drain the beans, saving ½ cup of liquid if you like. Stir the beans and culantro into the rice and then pour in the reserved cooking liquid, if using, and enough chicken broth to cover by the width of two fingers. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil without stirring until the level of the liquid reaches the rice. Give the rice a big stir, turn the heat to very low, and cover the pot. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

  4. Uncover the pot, give the rice a big stir, bringing the rice on the bottom to the top, and serve.


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@murryrushing. Many cultures have red bean recipes, Louisiana is just one. This recipe is much closer to a Puerto Rican red bean recipe. Which personally I love. So, next time, try not to be so close minded and quick to judge, especially if you have not tried the recipe


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