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- 1 1 lb package red kidney beans
- 3 tbsp tomato paste (this is optional. you may use one can of tomato sauce instead.)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp oregano
- ¼ lb of cooking ham (ham steak) cut into small squares. (ham adds a nice flavor but is also optional.)
- ¼ cup sofrito
- Check beans, look for stones, and discard any beans that are not whole.
- Rinse beans in cold water, drain, and place in a 5-quart pot.
- Soak overnight in 5 – 6 cups water if you have time.
- However, if you would like to make them the same day, bring the beans to a boil in four cups of water, turn off the burner and let stand for an hour.
- If you are using the beans that have soaked overnight, drain, add four cups of water, bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer.
- Brown the ham lightly in the olive oil.
- Add sofrito and stir.
- Now stir in the tomato paste and the rest of the ingredients.
- Once the flavors have blended and you have a nice consistency pour this mixture into the bean pot and stir.
- Place the frying pan back on the stove and deglaze the pan with ½ cup of the broth from the bean pot and then return this mixture to the bean pot.
- Let beans simmer for about 30 minutes at medium heat and reduce heat to a low simmer for about 1½ hours stirring now and then.
- Add water as needed.
- Taste for salt and other herbs and spices.
- You will know that the beans are ready when you can press them with a fork and they are soft to the touch, however, you don't want them too soft. The sauce should be fairly thick.