Rice and Beans

better known as Black beans and Rice

This version cheats a tad, because I don't have time to soak beans from scratch, I use the canned version and one 'spice' cheat...but without the added stuff, it just don't work. :-)

The beans:

Ingredients:

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add onions(, peppers) and garlic; sautee for 5-10 minutes or until golden. Add beans and water; stir and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over reduced heat for at least 30 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it tends to taste. :-)

The rice!

Can't forget this.
Ingredients:

In a heavy saucepan or rice cooker, add the above ingredients. Stir while bringing to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed into rice. Be sure to keep flame low enough to avoid burning bottom layer of rice.

Serve in large bowls; make a pile o'rice and drop on a ladle or two of beans. Ideal buffet-style. Serves 6, or 3 hungry ones.
MmmmMMMMMMMmmmmmmm.

This is my favorite comfort food, excellent after a day of hiking or other physical work. My version is a much quicker and dirtier one than The Custodian's under rice and beans; check that one out if you're making dinner for company.

This one takes between 15 minutes and 1 hour, depending on what kind of rice you use. It's simple, and you can add all kinds of stuff onto it without more cooking (eg, fruit, salsa, cheese).

For enough to serve 2 or 3 people:
INGREDIENTS:

OPTIONAL:

1. Start the rice. Use enough that everyone will end up with at least a cup and a half of cooked rice.

In a separate pan (deep enough to hold 2 cans of beans):
2. sauté the onions and garlic - at least until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic a little later than the onions, to avoid burning it.
3. Add the beans (draining the juice they come in is a matter of taste).
4. Stir well, add plenty of black pepper and whatever other spices you like. You can add other veggies (eg, chopped green pepper) if you want. If the bean mix is really soupy, let it boil down a bit; I generally make it so that it's mostly beans in a thick gravy.
5. When the rice is done and the beans are warm and peppery, eat up! On each plate (or in each bowl) put a bed of rice, and top it with a hearty glop of beans. Add extras, like mango or other fruit slices, spritzes of lime juice, salsa, hot sauce, cheese etc. My favorite is mango and lime -- also, if there's leftover mango and lime, they make a great juice drink (add sugar and water).

Quick, Easy and Good.

There used to be a 30-second 'Bod Squad' cartoon short that ABC would run on Saturday mornings. The cartoon had a song—which I believe was voiced by Jack Sheldon of School House Rock fame—singing the healthy praises of black beans and rice.

A snippet from memory:

"Beans and rice,
 beans and rice,
 once or twice or even thrice!
 Beans and rice are nice!"
Note: If someone else remembers this, please drop me a /msg so I know I'm not (too) crazy.

Black Beans and Rice plus Vegetables
a good vegetarian optional, chili type meal
high in protein, iron, and vitamins
low in fat
cheap and easy

Sauté one minced onion in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Sauté one cup raw rice in same oil after onions soften
Add one 1 pound can of black beans
Add one 1 pound can of chopped tomatoes
Add one teaspoon each of white pepper and salt
Add 1 pinch saffron(optional) can also use Bay Leaf
Add 3 cups broth or chicken or vegetable broth
Add 1 cup corn kernels (fresh if possible): good way to use up left over corn on the cob
Add 3 cups chopped fresh spinach or 1 pound frozen

Bring to a boil, cover then simmer until rice is done, about 20"

Serve with grated cheese or sour cream if low fat is not important (optional)
Serves 4

Black beans and rice, Cuban-style

The wonderful thing about rice and beans is that it has enough innocence to take on any combination of flavors one can some up with. Wanting to shake things up a bit and move away from the Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine so popular here in the Sonoran desert last night I thought I’d try my hand at this delectable dish from my sister-in-law. Working as a manager and caterer of the society elite here in Tucson at the Dakota restaurant she is exposed to the culinary creations of the chef that prepares food in a variety of inventions. It came out wonderful! Sadly there are no leftovers because I prepared only half of the recipe since it says it is enough for 16. I should have known better raising two sons and a husband. I would suggest making the whole recipe and freezing the leftovers because at this point I can only imagine that it would become better as the flavor meld over time. Another thing I would like to recommend is to be aware of the amount of water in the beans as they simmer. Because most professional chefs cook over a gas flame, with electric burners the beans will take longer to cook and because they take more time to cook, keep an eye on the amount of liquid in the beans so they don’t become too dry or burn. Adding salt during the last thirty minutes or so will also prevent the beans from becoming tough in texture.

This is a real start from scratch hands on dish so be sure to plan well in advance. Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand the day before; starting in the late morning is a good idea. The house will be filled with wonderful warm smells all days long and soon the neighbors will come over wanting to know when will dinner be ready?

Beans

Ingredients

Spread out dry beans and remove any foreign particles then rinse in cold water In a large put them in cold water; about one inch over the top of the beans. Let them soak overnight.

Oops! Forgot to put them to soak? That’s okay you can still parboil them.

Cover the beans with cold water and bring to a rolling boil for two minutes. Remove them from the heat and let them soak for an hour.

Drain the beans, put them in a large pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil reduce the heat and simmer gently about 60-90 minutes, or until tender. Stir them carefully to avoid breaking the skins. Taste for salt.

While the beans are simmering, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté until the veggies begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

Remove one cup of beans with a slotted spoon and mash them with a fork. (a hand held potato masher works even better). Add these freshly mashed beans to the skillet full of delicious smelling vegetable. Stir this coarse paste into the pot of beans as a thickener.

Add the white wine, vinegar, oregano, black pepper and bay leaf. Simmer until the beans are tender, about 60 minutes, and mixture is thick, stirring often.

Rice

Ingredients

Add rice lemon juice and salt to boiling water and stir. Bring back to a boil, quickly reduce to low heat, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For a family style flair you can serve the beans on a large platter with a ring of rice around them. This dish goes well with fresh pineapple, grilled squash and bollito bread. Bollito bread is native to the southwest, but try any crusty bread such as French or Italian as a nice substitute.

You may be wondering why this is called “Cuban” and that’s a good question. In many cases, it’s the combination of spices that connects a dish to a particular culture or part of the world. Add tomatoes you have Italian, take away the oregano and bay leaf and add tomato it’s Tex Mex. Add tomato, substitute green bell peppers with chili peppers and the oregano with cilantro don’t add bay leaf it’s a southwestern dish.

Savor the flavor! The combination of garlic onion, bell peppers and above all the addition of oregano along with bay leaf makes this Cuban. The transformation of aroma is quite remarkable when these last two spices are added! That’s about the time your neighbors show up.


*If you’re interested in reducing the amount of fat calories you can reduce the amount of olive oil to 2 tablespoons and sauté the veggies in a non-stick skillet.

Costa Rican Black Beans & Rice

Beans and rice are a common sight on tables around the world. During my stay in Costa Rica ten years ago we had black beans and rice with every lunch and dinner. The beans were prepared from scratch in massive batches and frozen in individual portions to heat up each day. Usually when I want beans and rice the first thing I do is reach for a can. But that's just plain wrong! Canned food is modern technology. People have been eating beans and rice for thousands of years, so if you want to get in touch with your roots get yourself some dry beans and start cooking. The following recipe is based on my own technique which I picked up all those years ago in Costa Rica.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bag dry black beans
  • 5 cups water (to start)
  • 1 medium to large white onion
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 3 large cloves of garlic (or more)
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • crushed/chopped chili seeds (optional)
  • lime juice

Preparation

The first step is to clean the beans, this should preferably done one day in advance but it is not necessary. Empty the bag onto a large flat (preferably bounded) surface like a cookie sheet and sort through weeding out the gimpy beans and foreign objects such as rocks and animal droppings. When the beans are cooked you'll be chomping down very excitedly so a rock is the last thing you want in there. They are more common then you might think given our usual expectations of supermarket fare; remember these beans are probably a few steps lower on the processing scale than most things you've eaten this week.

Put the beans in a colander and rinse them off. Now put them in a bowl of clean cool water to soak. Soaking for a full day is recommended, but if you don't have that much time the beans will still come out okay, you just may need to cook them longer.

yclept adds:
Soaking the beans for 20 hours or so in the refrigerator, changing the water twice about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through seriously reduces their gas producing properties.

After soaking, drain the beans and rinse them once more and boil in a large pot. Finely chop the cilantro and garlic and throw them into the boiling water. Dice the onion and set it aside. You can throw it in right away, but if you like a little bit of body left in your onion like me, wait til the end to throw it in.

Lower the heat just off maximum for the first half hour to maintain a rolling boil. After that lower the heat to medium, cover and cook several hours. Total cooking time is a loose range from 3-7 hours depending pre-soak time, burner heat, and covered vs. uncovered cooking. In Latin America the use of a pressure cooker is common to speed up the process, but that requires using a precise amount of water and I don't have one to test with.

As the beans cook, add water if it gets too thick. If it's not getting thick enough remove the lid so steam can escape. Remember that the beans will thicken slightly as they cool, and will continue to soften if you are storing them or have leftovers. After 4-5 hours start checking the beans consistency to see they are done, the skins will start to crack open, but taste is the best gauge. When the beans are soft add the salt, pepper, oregano and chili seeds.

The beans cook very slowly, so you have a wide window during which they could be considered done. Just before you judge this to be the case, cook up enough rice for the meal. I'll leave the instructions for that to Sensei et. al, but I will suggest that you prepare rice on the dry side so it can soak up the delicious bean sauce.

Once ready, heap a generous portion of beans over a pile of rice and squeeze lime juice on the top! This meal is delicious and primal just the way it is, but it also goes well with any kind of meat, vegetable, or other main dish you can think of. Use your imagination!

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