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Arroz con Habichuelas

1 lb small red beans*, soaked overnight** and cooked tender
3 cups rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb salted pork, washed and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano
Salt and ground pepper to taste

Drain cooked beans (see below) and set aside but reserve 3 cups cooking liquid.
Wash rice under cold running water and drain.
Heat oil in heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven and then brown salt pork.
Add onion and green pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes until slightly softened.
Stir in rice.
Add beans and reserved liquid.
Mix and then add salt, pepper and oregano.
Boil, uncovered, on moderate heat until water is absorbed and rice is dry (about 4-5 minutes)
Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Turn off heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes before serving.

The added bonus of this recipe is the “pegao” or crusted over rice that forms when grains of rice stick to the bottom of a heavy cast aluminum pot after it cooks. For many, it is the best part of this dish.

*You can use any dry bean for this recipe such as red kidney, pinto, black, or navy beans or black eyed peas. **Place beans in a strainer and throw away any broken beans or pebbles. Rinse beans under cold water, then place in a pot of cold water covering the beans by at least 2 inches of water. After being soaked overnight, drain beans and place them in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot to boil in 2 quarts of water over low-moderate heat until tender (about 1 hour depending on length of time soaked and age of beans).

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