Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)

Pink beans with late summer vegetables

I went to Puerto Rico for five days to reset and recharge!

Chester in Puerto Rico
The beach by the apartment was great for morning meditation!

I tried not to think too hard about what Bloom burger I was going to create when I got back, but it was on the back of my mind – especially when we went out to eat. We visited the kioskos de Luquillo to get a taste of Puerto Rican food, and I decided to try the Habichuelas on the menu.

The beans were absolutely incredible! I wish I would have gotten a picture, but I ate them too fast with a serving of coconut rice. The beans looked red like kidney beans, but they seemed to be a bit lighter with a different taste. I asked the waiter what kind of beans they were, and he said “rosadas.” These habichuelas rosadas, or pink beans, are a Puerto Rican staple. At that point, I knew they would be in the next Bloom burger!

When I returned to Houston, I went to the Urban Harvest to make groceries and get Bloom ingredients. I asked around about where in the city I may be able to find pink beans, and started on a journey.

I went to Phoenicia downtown, El Canino produce on Airline, Phoenicia in Westheimer, and Parivar Grocers – all with no luck (although I did see some interesting legumes I will feature in future burgers!) Feeling defeated, I decided to stop by Fiesta for a last check. In the frijoles aisle, I finally found what I was looking for!

Goya Pink Beans
Goya Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)

I took these home for a quick soak – boil for 2 minutes and cover for an hour. Then, I cut some sweet red onion from Lightsey Farms, a green bell pepper, some red and green jalapeños from Farmer Ely, and some fresh garlic.

Pink Beans Cut Ingredients
Soaked pink beans, red onion from Lightsey Farms, green pepper, green/red jalapeño from Farmer Ely, and garlic

With this mise en place ready to go, I started by toasting some coriander seeds in oil until they were fragrant.

Coriander in olive oil

I sweated out the onions, adding a bit of water when they started to stick to the pot.

Sweating red onions

After a few minutes, when the onions got translucent, I added the bell pepper and jalapeños. I also added unrefined salt, black pepper, thyme, and oregano.

The peppers were a bit soft after 3 minutes, when I added my garlic.

VERY IMPORTANT: I recently learned that I had been cooking garlic for far too long. I used to add it along with my onions and let it cook down for several minutes, but this eventually charrs the garlic and removes the aromatic flavor. This time, I added the garlic and stirred for a minute or so, and I could still smell the delicious fragrance. Before I would have to add garlic powder at the end of cooking to get a good flavor, but with this method, five cloves of garlic gave a delicious flavor to a pound of dry beans.

After a minute, I added the soaked pink beans. I like to stir mine into the vegetables. I don’t think it does much, except make for a beautiful picture!

I added a 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes. I would normally use fresh tomatoes, but they are not available locally at this time of year. A trustworthy brand of canned crushed tomatoes typically has better flavor than grocery tomatoes out of season.

Now, all that was left to do was to cover the beans with an inch of water, add some more seasonings to flavor the beans and the liquids, and bring the pot to a boil. I added a healthy amount of the same seasonings as before, and I threw in three small bay leaves (a must!!)

Once I covered my pot, I set the heat to medium-low (3.5-4). This pot is pretty deep, and I’ve found trying to simmer on low doesn’t hold a simmer very well.

I checked the beans after an hour, and they needed a bit more time. I checked them periodically over the next hour, and they ended up being cooked to perfection after a total time of two hours. Here you can see how much liquid cooked down. Isn’t that bright red from the tomato sauce beautiful! 😍

I am going to use these to make burger patties, but I had to have a small bowl just to make sure the flavors were where I wanted them. I have to say, these came out delicious. I felt like I was back at the kiosks on the beach!

And there you have it! These beans will be used to make the first ever Bloom Pink Bean Burger patty! Check out the recipe below!

Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)

Pink beans (habichuelas rosadas) inspired by a Puerto Rican classic
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8
Cost: $6

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or large pot
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pink beans
  • 1 red onion medium
  • 1 green bell pepper medium
  • 14 oz crushed red tomato
  • 4 jalapeños small
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil unrefined
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp salt unrefined
  • 1 tbsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • filtered water
  • 3 bay leaves small

Instructions

  • Soak pink beans overnight OR using quick soak method – boil for 2 minutes and let rest with lid closed for an hour.
  • Dice onion, bell pepper, jalapeños, and garlic.
  • Heat up olive oil over medium-high heat. Add coriander seeds and toast for a minute, until fragrant.
  • Add onions and occasionally stir until translucent. 3-4 minutes.
  • Add bell peppers and jalapeños. Add half of salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Mix and cook until peppers are soft. 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for one minute. No longer than that!
  • Add pink beans and crushed tomatoes. Add water until beans are covered by one inch (first joint on pointer finger). Add remainder of seasonings and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to medium-low heat.
  • Cook beans for about 2 hours. Check beans after an hour and adjust accordingly. Beans should be slightly firm, but the skins should be soft and they should have a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Serve with rice and top with fresh cilantro. Or cool overnight to use for burger patties!

Published by Chester Chambers

MIT grad with a mission to make the best veggie burger in the world

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