Articles / Juneteenth


Published June 14, 2022

Kayla Stewart, Adrienne Cheatham, and Stephen Satterfield

“If you look into any dish that’s part of American culture — frying is a cooking technique that came from West Africa — and you’ll see that history in any American dish, you can look through the components and see the cultures that brought that here, and that is celebration. That is acknowledging the people who didn’t get love for the work that they did, and honoring them, by saying ‘thank you for your contribution.’” — Adrienne Cheatham

“This is a holiday that is now rightfully being celebrated and observed by the entire nation. However, the origins of this day and the spirit of this day, and the celebration of this day — so the culture of the day — is about Black people and Black liberation and that’s what I don’t want to lose.” — Stephen Satterfield

I know I say that every episode of Food with Mark Bittman is special, and it is, but this week’s episode is really special. This week, we celebrate Juneteenth —which is Sunday, June 19 — by removing ourselves from the equation and handing the reins over to a guest host, someone we all know and love, Kayla Stewart, who talked with Stephen Satterfield and Adrienne Cheatham. Please welcome Kayla and Stephen back to the show — and welcome Adrienne for the first time! 

Please listen, subscribe, and review. And we’d love to hear your food-related questions, as we’d like to start doing live Q&A: Email us: food@markbittman.com. Also! We’ve got Adrienne’s recipe for Pilsen Red Beans and Rice for you, below.

Thank you, as always — and thank you to our esteemed guests. — Mark

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Pilsen Red Beans and Rice

Serves 8 to 10 as a side, 4 to 6 as a main course

In Mississippi, where my dad grew up, there’s a huge Mexican American population. And Chicago, where I grew up, boasts the third biggest Mexican community in the United States — much of it concentrated in the Pilsen neighborhood, where my mom took us for treats like elotes and paletas. So I’ve always seen how Southern and Mexican traditions can blend together seamlessly, especially when it comes to red beans and rice, a staple in both cultures. This version starts with the Southern trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery, which functions as a flavor builder just like Latin American sofrito (which adds tomatoes and cilantro to the equation). I also love folding in morsels of smoky dried chorizo and earthy spices like coriander and cumin. If you don’t have time to soak them, bring the beans to a boil in a pot of water. Boil for 5 minutes, cover, turn the heat off, let sit for an hour, and then drain and proceed with the recipe. — Sunday Best


  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans

  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped into large pieces

  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped into large pieces

  • 3 celery stalks, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 4 sprigs of parsley, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish

  • 1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium vine tomatoes, cored and finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 dried bay leaf (or 2 fresh)

  • 1⁄2 pound dried chorizo, thinly sliced

  • Cooked white rice, for serving (about 1⁄2 cup per person)

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


1. Put the beans in a colander and check for any pebbles or debris. Rinse the beans with cold water, then transfer them to a large container or pot and add enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Soak the beans overnight, covered, then drain.

2. Place half of the scallions along with the garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery, thyme, and roughly chopped parsley in a food processor. Pulse 5 to 6 times to chop a bit and integrate. You don’t want the mixture too fine or liquidy, so use your judgment after each 1-second pulse. By the way, congratulations! You just made a sofrito using a Southern-style trinity. Let’s call it Trinity Sofrito!

3. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Put in the 1⁄4 cup of oil, then all but 1⁄2 cup of the trinity sofrito (save the remainder for other uses). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated slightly and the bell pepper is a brighter green, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, paprika, coriander, cumin, and black pepper to taste. Cook for another 3 minutes.

4. Add the soaked beans, bay leaf, and 6 cups of water. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer, and cook for 2 hours.

5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chorizo and all of its rendered fat to the pot with the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, until the beans are very tender, another 45 minutes to 1 hour.

6. Use a fork to mash about one-quarter of the beans against the side of the pot. This is traditional and serves to thicken the beans and make them more stewy. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, give the pot a good stir, and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

7. Serve over white rice and garnish with parsley and cilantro and the remaining scallions!

Timing tip: Right after you add the chorizo is a good time to start your rice so that it will be done at the same time as the beans (takes about 40 minutes).

— Reprinted from Sunday Best. Copyright © 2022 Adrienne Cheatham with Sarah Zorn. Photographs copyright © 2022 Kelly Marshall. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

Pilsen Red Beans And Rice
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