Puerto Rican Pork and Beans

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From the Essential Pépin tv series, Episode 114: Family Favorites

My wife, Gloria, often prepares this dinner when we have guests. A satisfying one-dish meal, it can be cooked ahead and refrigerated or frozen, and it is even better reheated.

Buy the meatiest, leanest country-style spareribs you can find. The cilantro stems are cooked with the beans to give them an unusual and definitive flavor, and then the leaves are added at the end. If you don’t like the taste of cilantro, you can omit it. —Jacques Pépin

Serves 4

Serve with boiled rice and Tabasco.


1 tablespoon canola oil
4 country-style pork loin spareribs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 cups cold water
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium onions (about 10 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped (about 1 tablespoons)
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped (about 2 teaspoons), or more if you like
2 teaspoons salt
I pound dried red kidney beans, picked over and washed
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves chopped separately (1/3 cup chopped stems, 3 tablespoons chopped leaves)
Tabasco sauce

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. When it is hot, add the pork in one layer and brown over high heat for about 15 minutes, turning it occasionally, until it is brown on all sides.

Add all the remaining ingredients except the cilantro leaves and Tabasco. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender and the beans soft.

Divide among four individual plates, sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, and serve with Tabasco.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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