As you may have noticed in prior posts, in my culture rice and beans reign supreme.  It’s in our DNA. Thus, I am always on the lookout for requisite good recipes.  In Columbia they have their own method of  preparing this consummate dish. My Columbian brethren add plantains to the dish. Something we never do in Nuyorican cooking. We may have plantains as a side dish, either green plantains (tostones) or ripe plantains (platanos dulce).

Let me add that in Columbia, when making this dish, they use a type of bean called Bola. This is a red ball bean with a white eye.  Admittedly, they are hard to find, even on the East Coast.  I’m sure you can find them online.  I’ve discovered that red kidney bean do just as well in the recipe, and are quite tasty.  Also,  this recipe contains slab bacon, which gives it that added flavor.

(Columbian-Style Rice and Beans)


1 pound dried red kidney beans
8 ounces slab bacon, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium-ripe plantains, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste


1. Rinse and pick through beans. Then soak overnight in a large pot of water (the pot does not need to be covered unless you prefer it that way).
2. Next day, rinse soaked beans well with cold water. Place in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, cover with water (for at least 2 inches) and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low- medium, cover, and cook for two hours.
3. In a skillet, sauté bacon (no oil is needed), onion, plantains, cilantro, garlic and salt. Add to beans. Continue cooking, covered, at low-medium heat for about 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Stir occasionally to make sure than beans do not stick to pot. When completely cooked, liquid should have the consistency of a thick soup. You can serve the beans and rice separately, or beans over the rice.
Yield: 4-6 servings.