Rita Moreno's Abichuelas Rojas
1 lb. red kidney beans (or any red beans)
About 3 qts. water
4 oz. lean salt pork, cubed
1 sweet chili pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 coriander leaves, chopped
One 8-oz. can tomato sauce
Salt to taste
1. Bring beans to boil in water and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. (It is not necessary to soak beans; in fact, they taste better if boiled only.) Remove any scum from top of water as beans boil.
2. Render salt pork in skillet over medium heat until pork is crisp; pour off some of the excess fat and discard. Add both kinds of peppers, onion and coriander leaves. Cook until vegetables begin to soften (about 5 minutes); add tomato sauce and salt to taste. Mix well to blend.
3. Add salt pork mixture to cooked beans. Summer about 2 more hours or until beans are soft enough to be enough squashed between thumb and forefinger. Serves 8.
Rita Moreno's Pollo en Fricase
2 tbsps. achiote lard (made by putting 6 or 7 annatto seeds in fork fat or polyunsaturated oil; put on medium heat and heat until fat turns a very deep orange. Discard seeds by draining fat through sieve. You now have achiote lard.)
4 oz. cured ham, finely chopped
2 tbsps. salt pork, finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 green pepper, seeded and cut in four parts
2 very ripe tomatoes, peeled
2 sweet chili peppers, seeded
12 green olives, pitted
1 tsp. capers
1/4 cup seeded raisins
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano, mashed
1 tbsp. salt
3-lb. cleaned chicken, cut into serving pieces
1-lb. can peas (or use 10 1/2-oz. pkg. frozen peas)
1. Heat achiote lard (or polyunsaturated oil) in a deep kettle; add ham and salt pork, cook over high heat about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add all the ingredients except the chicken and peas; stir and mix well.
2. Add chicken, heat to boiling; reduce heat to moderate, cover and cook for about 40 minutes (or until chicken is tender). Uncover, add drained peas or frozen peas and cook until peas are heated through (or tender). Serve with cooked white rice. Serves 6.
Thoughts: Rita's two recipes call for special ingredients available in Spanish markets or at gourmet shops. Thyme may be substituted for coriander. If annatto seeds are not obtainable, it is better to delete than make any other substitution. Rita advises, "When cooking chicken fricassee, regulate the heat according to the amount of liquid lost, since you must end up with a reasonable amount of slightly thick gravy."