Joann Delmonico from Utica, N.Y., was looking for an authentic recipe for making Spanish-style rice and beans. She said her granddaughter loves the dish, and she would like to be able to make it for her.
Martine Perez from Santa Rosa, Calif., sent in her favorite recipe for rice and beans. She said sometimes she adds some cooked ham or sausage, but most of the time she makes it without adding any meat for a tasty vegetarian meal that everyone, even her kids, enjoys.
Perez said she frequently serves the rice and beans inside flour tortillas with shredded cheese, low-fat yogurt or sour cream, and lettuce to make a delicious vegetarian burrito for a simple and satisfying weeknight meal. There are plenty of ways to vary her basic recipe depending on your personal preferences.
I have seen other, more involved recipes that call for olives or peppers and other seasonings, but this recipe is an excellent starting point for anyone looking for a straightforward and traditional Spanish-style rice and beans dish.
Rona Finkelstein from Baltimore would love to have the recipe for the flat and crispy cinnamon sugar cookies that Parisers, the kosher bakery on Reisterstown Road, bakes. She said she and her husband love the cookies because they are not too sweet, and one usually is enough to satisfy their sweet tooth after dinner. She said she has never come across another bakery that makes the cookie, and her attempts to make them have been futile.
Ashley Vincent, originally from Baltimore and now living in Wayne, Pa., is seeking the recipe for the crab cake that was served at the now-closed Court Square Cafe in Centreville. She thinks it may have used hollandaise sauce instead of mayonnaise. She said it was the best crab cake she ever ate.
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Spanish rice and beans
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
3 cloves gloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup fresh or bottled salsa
2 tablespoons sofrito* (or more to taste)
1 15-ounce can beans, drained and rinsed (black, kidney or whatever your favorite)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, mix with onion and cook about 5 minutes or until rice turns a golden color. Add in the garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Slowly pour in the broth and then add in the salsa and sofrito. Add in the beans and stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Rice should simmer about 25 minutes, until all the broth is absorbed. Mix well, then add cilantro and serve.
*Sofrito is a prepared combination of spices (tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic) used in Spanish cooking. You can add it to flavor soups, stews, rice and beans for an authentic Spanish flavor. You can find prepared sofrito in the ethnic aisle in most grocery stores.