Orinoco Red Beans and Rice

This wax-type chile originated in Hungary and was brought to the US in the 1930’s. Yellow chiles of several different varieties are a staple in Eastern European cuisine. These chiles can be pickled, battered and fried or used in salsas and salads.Hungarian Wax chiles have alot of flavor without the bitter aftertaste that you can get from many of the green types of chile. Try substituting some of these in your chile recipes next time.

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1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound bacon, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 Hungarian wax chiles, seeded and finely chopped
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white and light green part, finely chopped
1 celery rib with leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, plus 3 cilantro sprigs
1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed well and drained
4 cups water
kosher salt


In a very large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped bacon and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the bacon is golden brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the onion, bell pepper, chile peppers, scallions, leek, celery, chopped cilantro and parsley and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cook, stirring gently, for 2 minutes. Add the rice, water, cilantro sprigs and 2 tsp. of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 6 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook until the rice is firm-tender, about 25 minutes. Fluff the rice, season with salt and serve.

Recipe by Maricel Presilla, from the May 2003 issue of Food and Wine Magazine.