Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rice and Beans

Mark Bittman writes in How to Cook Everything (original edition/1998): “Rice and beans are one of the most important of all culinary marriages, they are cheap, they provide good protein and plenty of carbohydrates, and they don’t take a lot of work to make them delicious. You don’t need a recipe. Take any well seasoned bean dish and serve it with any well prepared rice dish.”*

This is a good boat dish because the basic ingredients are easily stored.

Alexandra would argue that rice and beans prepared without lard fall far short of the rice and beans she lived on in Costa Rica (that said, she never cooks with lard). Here is my version:

2 c brown rice
2 19-oz cans black beans (`1/2 pound or 1 1/4 dried beans, cooked for 25 minutes)
Water

Rinse the beans well and then drain. Put 4 cups of water in a pan with the rice and bring to boil, cover and cook on low heat until rice has absorbed all liquid, 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, cook the rice in a rice cooker.

MEANWHILE, sauté in medium frying pan until peppers are soft and onions are golden, about 8-10 minutes over medium heat:

2 T olive oil (add oil first and heat before adding vegetables)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored, stemmed and chopped
1 green pepper, cored, stemmed and chopped
1 T minced garlic

If eating immediately, place the beans in a large pot that can hold over twice their volume and cook over low heat until they are warmed through, add cooked rice and sautéed vegetables. Stir well and season with

Pepper

This recipe makes a large pot of rice and beans that will keep for several days in the refrigerator. If you are not eating immediately, combine cooked rice, sautéed vegetables and cold beans. Mix well. When ready to serve, heat all or a portion of the mixture in a microwave oven, conventional oven, or stove top until warmed through.

Good served with

Salsa or chili sauce or (my favorite) Cholula Hot Sauce.

VARIATIONS:

Use red beans instead of black.

Add some hot chili peppers and/or chili powder to the sauté.

Add corn kernels with the beans.

Add 2 t ground cumin to the sauté.

Add fresh cilantro just before serving.

Combine several/all of the above variations.


Use rice and beans (plus some cheddar cheese) as an omelet filling (see Spanish Rice Omelet).

* Page 515

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