My baby's graduating!!! Sad face. Well....she's not really my baby. Technically she belongs to the neighbors. And she graduated a while ago. But there's a party! And she chose a theme. This hurts me to say....I am trying to be very culturally aware when I say this. To recognize that I am a child of the 80's and she's a child of the 00's. But I'm not sure I can forgive her sweet little 18 year-old heart. She chose......Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Gah. I can barely type it. Sigh. I guess there's no accounting for taste. But anyway, the sacrilegious theme did allow me to make Red Beans and Rice to go with the Cuban pulled pork her actual parents made.
Overall, it was a hit - unless they were all just being nice to me! I thought it was good, not great. But everyone else seems to disagree, and who am I to go against the crowd? I skipped the bacon to make it veggie, the flavor of the bacon really would have made the dish I think. I upped the beans by a quarter and I still think it could have been more beany. The smoked paprika is key, and I might even go as far as to double it next time.
I made this for about 40ish people....to do that I sauteed the veggies in Crisco in my dutch oven, then added the spices and let it meld for a few minutes before adding a can of tomatoes and chopped chilis instead of tomato paste. Then I emptied half the veggie/spice mix into a pan, added all the beans, and popped it in the oven to heat through. Meanwhile I added the rice to the dutch oven, stirred to coat and added twice the water - I'm not sure why they have so little water in the recipe, but I've learned the hard way that it doesn't matter what the recipe says, you must use double the measure of rice. So because I used six cups of rice, I used twelve cups of water and it was perfect. When the rice was cooked, I mixed it all together, took it to the neighbors, and drank mojitos. Many mojitos.