We teamed up with our favorite Latin American pantry brand, Loisa, to bring you our spin on habichuelas guisadas, classic Caribbean stewed red beans with squash. This recipe brings together our thoughtfully sourced ingredients in a complex and hearty stew, created by Belqui Ortiz Millili (@belquistwist).
Get the ingredients in our limited-edition Taste of the Caribbean kit!
Raised between the Dominican Republic and NYC, there is nothing I love more than a good habichuelas guisadas to spoon over a healthy serving of white rice. It’s a staple in basically every Caribbean country and across Latin America. Growing up we always bought dried beans, and to speed up the process, we used the old-style pressure cookers. Habichuelas guisadas was the third recipe I learned to cook proficiently by age 13. My family raved about how good my beans were and still to this day, they feel the same.
Beans have a very long history in Caribbean cuisine, dating back to the indigenous Taino people who cultivated various types of beans. With the arrival of European colonists, beans were integrated into the local diet and adapted to the tastes and ingredients of the time.
In the Dominican Republic, habichuelas guisadas are typically made with red kidney beans. The beans are stewed in a flavorful tomato-based sauce, often seasoned with sofrito, which includes ingredients like onions, bell peppers, garlic, culantro, and cilantro. The beans are usually served with white rice and a protein like chicken, pork, or beef. This recipe is particularly delicious because not only am I using my favorite seasonings by Loisa, but I am also using Sangre de Toro red beans by Primary Beans.
– Belqui Ortiz Millili (@belquistwist)
- 1 tbsp high heat cooking oil
- 3 tbsp homemade* or prepared sofrito (such as Loisa's Sofrito)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ yellow onion, diced
- ¼ green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup auyama, also known as calabaza, West Indian pumpkin, or kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp adobo (we used Loisa's Adobo)
- 1 tbsp sazón (we used Loisa's Sazón)
- 2 sprigs cilantro, whole or chopped
- 1 lb dried Sangre de Toro beans
In a medium pot, over medium/high flame, heat your oil. Then stir in sofrito, garlic and sea salt.
Add the remaining ingredients: onions, peppers, auyama, tomato sauce, adobo, sazón, beans, and water. Give it a stir. Note: During the cooking process, your auyama may dissolve into the dish. If you’d like pieces of auyama visible within the beans, reserve half to add later.
Raise the heat to high, cover the beans, and bring them to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. Add warm water as needed if you see too much liquid has evaporated.
If you reserved auyama for later, add them back in when you have about 30 minutes left of cooking time.
Once the beans are tender, taste for seasoning. Add more salt as needed. Serve with arroz blanco and protein of your choice. ¡Buen Provecho!
*To make sofrito at home, process the following until smooth and season with salt to taste: 2 Spanish onions (peeled & quartered), 2 cubanelle peppers (seeded and cored), 1 red bell pepper (seeded & cored), 1 bunch cilantro, 18 cloves garlic (peeled), 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 bunch recao/culantro (if available).