Growing up in a Puerto Rican family, food (both preparing and eating) was an important part of daily life. There are several dishes that are particularly special to me, not only for the taste, but for the memories they conjure. Cooking with my abuela as a child, eating my dad’s feasts (and smelling that sofrito cooking) whenever we had company in town, and so many more. As an adult it’s been important to me to practice our family recipes and introduce my children to them. Through Fab Everyday, I also have the honor of getting to share them with you. A few months ago I shared one of my favorites: my dad’s recipe for Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas). Today I’m sharing a recipe for Habichuelas Guisadas (stewed beans) that we almost always make with the arroz. This Puerto Rican recipe is an adaptation of my dad’s recipe, and I’m proud to say it is one of my husband’s favorite thing that I cook. Jump to Recipe or keep reading for explanations, tips, and a visual walk-through on making this delicious Puerto Rican beans recipe.
Want more recipes like these Puerto Rican beans? See these other Puerto Rican recipes from Fab Everyday
- Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo recipe (my family’s recipe – adapted for the pressure cooker!)
- Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) recipe
- Instant Pot Estofado de Pollo (or Pollo Guisado – Puerto Rican-style chicken stew)
- Shortcut Puerto Rican Picadillo Empanadas recipe
- Air Fryer Tostones (Fried Green Plantain Chips) recipe
- Recipe: How to Make Homemade Puerto Rican Sofrito
- Family recipe: The best Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog) recipe
How to make habichuelas guisadas (Puerto Rican beans)
Here’s what you need:
I always recommend Goya products, so you’ll notice several of the ingredients shown here are from Goya. You should be able to find them in the Latin/Hispanic or International section of your grocery store, but if you can’t, you can check Amazon (affiliate link).
Here are some of the key habichuelas recipe components:
The base to this habichuelas recipe, as with many savory Puerto Rican recipes, is sofrito, which is essentially the Spanish version of mirepoix. While you can find jarred, pre-made versions (affiliate link), there’s nothing quite like homemade sofrito for your Puerto Rican cooking. This is why I always have a few portions of homemade sofrito in my freezer, ready to use when I need it. Get the recipe and instructions for how to make Puerto Rican Sofrito in this post here.
Part of the way this meal gets its lovely color is from the achiote in these Goya Sazón (affiliate link) seasoning packets. Goya makes a few varieties of Sazón, but make sure the one you use includes achiote.
You can use cubes of ham or salt pork in this recipe (or a combination of both). I personally prefer to use salt pork.
The recipe calls for green olives stuffed with pimentos and capers. The mixture of these two ingredients is called alcaparrado.
To start, you cook the ham cubes in the olive oil for a bit to brown them. Then you add this magic (sofrito). The smell when this hits the pan… it’s like nothing else!
Along with the sofrito, you add cumin and the Sazón achiote packet and cook, stirring for a few minutes until blended.
Then you stir in the rest of the ingredients (pink beans, or habichuelas rosadas, chicken broth, tomato sauce, potatoes and alcaparrado) and season with salt and pepper to taste. The beans and potatoes should be covered with the liquid.
You bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot. It cooks on a low boil until the potatoes are tender. You will be stirring it occasionally, but otherwise it’s a pretty hands-off recipe once it gets going.