Thursday, September 25, 2008

Potaje de Frijoles Colorados (Cuban Red Bean Stew)

This is my grandmothers recipe for "Potaje de Frijoles Colorados" (Cuban Red Beans Stew), this is a heavy thick stew made of red beans with pork, potatoes, winter squash, Cuban sofrito made in bacon grease heavy on the garlic seasoned with Cuban spices predominantly cumin and a hint of oregano and or bay leaves.

It can be served in a large bowl over white rice, or the rice can be on the side. If you don't want rice you can eat it with crusty bread or bread with garlic and olive oil or another way make "Pan Frito" (heat olive oil with a bit of garlic and toast it in the oil) this with a nice raw salad on the side and a sweet desserts to top it of closing the meal with a shot of Cuban coffee is comfort.

This stew is anti-kosher as it relies heavily on pork for great flavor.

-2 cups large red kidney beans
-1 1/2 pounds pork stew meat well cleaned rinsed well in water and maybe cleaned with some lime juice then rinsed again
-1 small pork bone (optional) clean same way as pork meat
-salt to taste at least 2-3 teaspoons
-2 heaping tablespoonfuls of bacon grease or lard or about 1/4 cup olive oil
-1 large green bell pepper (or 1/2 red bell pepper and 1/2 green bell pepper)
-1 onion minced
-6-12 cloves of garlic finely minced (mashed or through a garlic press)
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-1 teaspoons cumin
-1/2 teaspoon oregano or 2 bay leaves (one or the other not both)
-1 lbs. Calabaza, peeled and cut into medium chunks (may substitute for "Kabucha" squash, "Butternut Squash", or other orange colored winter squashes)
-2-4 small potatoes cut into chunks peeled

(1)Wash beans well and soak over night in enough water to cover beans and pork 2 inches.

(4) Boil beans, with pork and two bay leaves, add about 3 teaspoons salt (or else your pork may be bland) cook together until tender.
(3 ) Make a sofrito heat 1/2 lbs bacon chopped or bacon grease or lard. Make sofrito by sauteeing onion and bell pepper til tender and translucent, then add garlic and sautee til fragrant. If using tomato sauce add and stir in now.

(4) Add the sofrito (sauteed onion, garlic, bell pepper, and tomato if used) to the beans along with calabaza and potatoes. Season with more salt if needed, add cumin. Allow everything to boil together for about 25- 30 minutes until potatoes and calabaza are tender
(5)Uncover, your done. It should be somewhat thick if it isn't you added to much water or you can thicken by mashing some of the beans in it.
-You can add Spanish Chorizo if desired my grandma always made it without for some reason.


Núria said...

Nathan, cuando me vas a invitar a comer a tu casa?

Pero que ricooooooooo se ve este estofado!!!!! Ahora que viene el frio, tengo que probarlo :D

Nathan said...

Quando quieras estan las puertas abiertas jeje (es solo un continente de lejos jaja)

Gracias de verdad era delicioso me encanta bastante este potaje. Dime que pensastes del Potaje quando lo cocines :)

Anonymous said...

Nathan...looks great...sometimes I also like to add chorizo (Spanish)to frijoles colorados...Alubias, the Basque version, are pretty similar but without the calabaza. My Mom use to puree the beans with some of the soup, pour it over pure de malanga and drizzle olive oil over the little mountain of heaven.

Nathan said...


I haven't had Pure de Malanga since I was probably in my infant years (I can't remember) my grandmother made my mother feed me Pure de Malanga when I was small, it's suppose to be a good food for young children. My mother fed it to my little sister as some of her first foods and now she does the same with my neice. It's suppose to be a good beginners food because it's easily digestible.

I never have the chance to make the "Pure de Malanga" every time I want to make it my family jumps the gun and wants "Frituritas de Malanga" and sometimes "Frituritas de Malanga en Dulce"

The chorizo in it sounds good, man Mamey you should start a cooking blog, you always have really good suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Nathan...I can't compete with you! You're doing it all. BTW, at our house pure de papas, mashed potatoes, are made with milk, butter AND good olive oil. Mashed potatoes were often served at my house back in Havana in the evenings, instead of rice, to accompany light fare like 'minuta' (breaded fish filet) or slices of ham and a salad. Our lunches were usually much larger than dinner. Most Cuban restaurants outside of south Florida fail to include mashed potatoes in their menu. I don't make it often, but I still love to eat pure de malanga (mashed Caribbean that a fair translation?).

Anonymous said...

Nathan, your website is awesome.
Me pase el dia de hoy cocinando estos frijoles y el caldo gallego de tu tia. I will let you know how it all works out! So glad you have this site. Many of my relatives are gone now yet the legacy of the Cuban kitchen continues! GRACIAS

Nathan said...

Glad I could be of some help :) and yes let's continue the legacy of the Cuban kitchen, we cannot lose this wonderful cuisine, especially the wonderful foods cooked before Castro :)

Ivy said...

Looks good Nathan. Found your blog from your comments on

Anyway, I am cooking potaje de frijoles colorados as we speak, and was searching for tips online. I don't know why cooking like Mami and Abuela used to intimidate me. I think these will come out good, although I used jamon instead of lechon or chorizo. Wish me luck. My biggest concern is that I cook the dried beans long enough. I soaked them overnight.

Nathan said...

They are gonna come out good, with a good sofrito you cannot go wrong, cooking them long enough shouldn't be a problem, just be sure you covered the beans like 1 1/2 inches in water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on medium low for like atleast 1- 1 1/2 hour, check on them after to see if they are tender or you need to adjust water level. NEVER add cold water, if you need to add more water warm it up first/ heat it up. Let me know how they turn out :)

Ivy said...

OK, they came out really good. Really great actually. My gringo esposo and half gringo son devoured them. However despite the sofrito, cumin, oregano, etc, they had a little non-Traditional Cuban taste. The ham chunks and ham bone that I used were leftover from a traditional gringo style glazed ham, so the potaje ended up with a slightly sweet flavor. It was still very good.

Nathan said...

I'm glad it worked out :) my grandma would kill me, but I think if you used leftover sweet ham maybe adding a tablespoon of vinegar would've balanced it out ? (my mom get's mad at me for doing that too, but I know some Cubans like to add a little vinegar to their beans.)

Ivy said...

Yeah, vinegar might have helped, but the taste wasn't bad, just a little different and not quite traditional. I've been going through your recipes. Was looking for frituritas de bacalao and was thrilled to find a recipe. Will have to try that as well as several others that I came across. Will let you know how they turn out.