Stewed Pink Beans

1 cup pink beans, dried
1 quart water, cold
1 cup pumpkin, peeled, 1/2 inch dice
1 cup russett potato, peeled, 1/2 inch dice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons salt pork, 1/4 inch dice
1/3 cup ham, 1/4 inch dice
pinch oregano (dried)
1 cup onion, 1/4 inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cilantro sprigs, chopped
1 cup tomato, peeled, seeded, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 scotch bonnet or jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Rinse the beans under cold running water. Place them in a container, cover with cold water and soak overnight. Drain and discard any beans that did not swell
  2. Place the beans in a large sauce pot and cover with the cold water. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the diced pumpkin and potato and simmer an additional 30 minutes or until the beans are almost tender.
  4. Heat the oil for the sofrito, add the salt pork and ham, and cook until browned.
  5. Add the oregano, stir, and continue to cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the onion, garlic and cilantro; reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft.
  7. Mash some of the pumpkin and potato against the side of the pan. Add the sofrito mixture, the tomato, and the jalapeno. Simmer for 20 more minutes or until the liquid thickens.
  8. Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Chef: Can get the distinct texture of the beans and it's nice. could be better to also see the other elements of the dish (potato and squash to get a feel for all ingredients).

Personal/Team: Beans cooked nice, bacon adds good flavor; overall taste is good, but it looked bland. Could add more color with herbs or peppers, not mashing all the squash could also add more color to the dish and improve overall appearance.

Lessons Learned:  potatoes and squash are a good thickener and have a complimentary texture that matches the beans. By mashing some and keeping some whole, you can improve the look of the beans and still maintain the thicker texture.