One of the easiest and most delicious sides to make is Puerto Rican Habichuelas Guisadas. Very easy and affordable to make.
Habichuelas guisadas are stewed beans made in a Puerto Rican style that are made in a savory base.
We also add sazon seasoning which adds tons of flavor because is made with spices like cumin, oregano, and garlic powder.
Stewed beans are one of the most beloved dishes in Puerto Rico. It is even served in the schools on the island for lunchtime. In school, I always only liked the “caldito” the broth.
You can find most of these ingredients in a Latin supermarket or the Hispanic section of big chain supermarkets. But I also have the recipe to make many of the ingredients needed to make this or any Puerto Rican meal.
- Canned Beans- I used 2 whole 15.5 oz cans of pink beans with the liquid. Just make sure they are not baked beans.
- Ham- I used ham steak and I just cut what I needed. You can use cubed ham, pork belly, sausages, or tocino.
- Tomato Sauce- I use 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce but you can substitute for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. It adds a touch of acidity and balances the sofrito and the beans.
- Sofrito- I use 2 tablespoons of sofrito which is one of the base flavors of this dish.
- Oil- I used only 1 tablespoon but also used achiote oil but you can use your preferred cooking oil.
- Vegetables- I used ½ pound of potatoes and ½ pound of pumpkin. They act as thickeners by releasing starch when cooking. Helping the beans to have a creamy delicious broth.
- Recao- I used ¼ cup recao. If you don’t have any, just add ¼ of a small green pepper or cilantro.
- Water- I used 3 ¼ cups of water, no need to use stock in this recipe.
- Seasonings- I used salt, and ham flavoring for taste. You can use adobo instead of salt. Sazon is also added for color and to add an umami flavor.
How to make it
Step 1: Peel and cube the potatoes and pumpkin. You can leave the pumpkin skin on if you like.
Step 2: Add your oil to a pan on high heat, and saute the ham for 1 minute. This technique introduces a smokey flavor.
Step 3: Add your sofrito and tomato sauce and cook for a minute. Stir while cooking. This makes all the vegetables in the sofrito like the onions, garlic, and pepper fragrant.
Step 4: Now add the beans, seasoning, vegetables, and water and give it a good stir.
Tip: Taste the water after you mix everything in. This will help you know if you would like to add more salt to the recipe.
Step 5: Cover the pot to cook the beans. The reason for covering the pot is to avoid a lot of the liquid and retain more liquid.
Step 6: Cook for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir a couple of times to avoid the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Use dried beans
You can use dried beans for this recipe but you need a couple of steps more. First, rinse the beans to remove any debris.
- Soak the beans overnight– Use 4 cups of water per pound of beans. You just have to make sure beans have at least 3 inches of water covering them. Rinse and drain.
- Cook the beans for 45 minutes- You have to cook the beans for at least 45 minutes so the beans are very tender like the canned beans. Cook 1 pound of beans in 8 cups of water. You can achieve this faster by using a pressure cooker.
- Follow the recipe- After all you have to do is saute your ham, and the sofrito and tomatosauce. Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 30 minutes.
Here are a few ways of troubleshooting the most common issues when making beans which are watery beans.
- Cook uncovered- This will evaporate a lot of liquid so you will have less broth.
- Mash a piece of potato or pumpkin- This is my favorite method of thickening the beans. By mashing a piece of either vegetable and adding it back to the broth, the starch will do its magic. You’ll have thick and tasty habichuelas guisadas without compromising on flavor.
- If on the other hand, your bean broth is too thick, add ¼ cup of water at a time.
- Beans- You can use red kidney beans, black beans, white beans, lima beans, and even chickpeas.
- Vegetables- A really good addition is carrots. They’re great to also act as a thickener.
- Vegetarian/Vegan- This recipe can easily be made to be vegetarian and vegan by the ham. Also, swap the ham flavoring for a vegetable bouillon.
- Store- Wait for the beans to cool, transfer to an airtight container and it will be good for 4 days in your fridge.
- Freezing- This is a great recipe to freeze. After cooling store in an airtight container or freezer bag to save space. Your beans will be good for 3 months in the freezer.
💬 Do you have any questions or comments on this Puerto Rican Habichuelas Guisadas Recipe? Leave your questions or comments below and I’ll reply!
Puerto Rican Habichuelas Guisadas
- 2 canned pink beans 15.5 ounce can
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- ½ cup ham
- 1 ½ teaspoons sazón
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 ½ cups water
- ¼ cup recao
- ½ pound kent pumpkin
- ½ pound potatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons ham flavoring
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Peel your potato and pumpkin. Roughly chop them into ½-inch thick pieces. Set aside.
- In a large pot over high heat add your oil, ham and sauté for 1 minute. Next add your sofrito, and tomato sauce. Saute for 1 minute while stirring to avoid it from sticking at the bottom.
- Add the beans, seasonings, recao, vegetables, and water. Stir and cover.
- Cook for about 30 minutes. Make sure to stir at least a couple of times. Serve immediately and enjoy.
- Soak the beans overnight with enough water to cover them.
- Cook the beans for 30 minutes or until tender. Use 2 cups of water per pound.
- Finish cooking by following the recipe from step 1.
- Thicken- You can cook uncovered and more water will evaporate or you can match a couple of pieces of potato and pumpkin. This will help get a thick broth.
- Too thick- Add ¼ cup of water to water down the broth.
Don’t miss another delicious recipe and sign up for our newsletter!