I know every Hispanic family has their own version on how to prepare rice and beans, but this was just one of the many ways that my mom prepared them.
Arroz y frijoles — rice and beans, a staple in many of our Hispanic homes. My earliest memories as a toddler are of a big plate of my mom’s Mexican red rice with chopped bananas. Really, chopped bananas! I never had a chance to ask Mom why she served it to us that way. The only thing I could imagine is that it was her way of getting us to eat the rice and not just the banana, LOL.
And the beans, well, who wouldn’t love freshly blended or mashed beans with a homemade, warm flour tortilla? To die for!
Start with the rice. In a medium pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add the rice and cook until the rice becomes aromatic and starts to toast, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, serrano, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Taste for salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
To make the chile colorado (red) sauce, remove the stems and seeds from chile ancho peppers. Transfer them to a glass bowl, cover with water and cook in the microwave for 6 to 7 minutes. Stir them halfway through cooking time, remove from oven, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Drain the peppers and transfer them to the blender. Add a pinch of salt, and just enough water to blend, about 1/2 cup. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.
While the rice is cooking, in another pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat, add the onions and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste for salt, then transfer the beans to a blender with the chile colorado sauce. Secure the lid and hold down with kitchen towel, blend beans until smooth. Return to pan and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes, add a little water if they get too thick.
Before serving the rice, fluff with fork and gently fold in the tomatoes, onions, and garlic. I like to garnish my beans with a little queso fresco. If you like your beans to have more texture, just mash with a potato masher while they are simmering. Both yield up to 6 servings.
Many people ask why I drain the water from the chile ancho peppers after cooking. The water tends to taste a little bitter and may transfer that to your recipe, so it’s best to just drain them completely and use fresh water or chicken broth to blend for a sauce.