This is one of the most popular meals in the Dominican Republic. In Spanish, it’s called “la bandera,” which means “the flag.” It includes rice, beans and meat — either chicken or beef. Each part is supposed to stand for one color of the flag. Many families living in poverty can’t afford meat very often because it’s more expensive than most vegetables. So this meal would be a special treat!
Cook the rice according to package directions.
Cut the chicken into small pieces. Mix it in a bowl with 1 can of tomato paste and half each of the oregano, bell pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro. Let marinate at least 30 minutes.
Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pot over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the bowl, but keep the marinade. Add the chicken to the pot and sauté until light brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the marinade to the pot and simmer, covered, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium heat. Then add the other can of tomato paste and the remaining spices. Cook about 1 minute, stirring. Add the pinto beans to the pot and cook until the beans are warm, about 5 minutes.
Serve the beans over rice with chicken on the side. Or for extra fun, arrange the rice in a cross shape and surround it with beans and chicken.