RICE & BEANS
This winter has really pushed its limits, not only with the weather being twice as colder than average, and snowfalls being nearly triple. So, supermarket runs for fresh food are scarce. Even when you can get out, the supermarket is like a steel cage match battle to the death for anything perishable, non-perishable and of course, milk, water and bread. As much as I love pasta, I’ve had enough this winter. My pantry was well stocked with nearly any common and uncommon shape you could think of that can be used for anything from soup to stew to of course your most basic sauces when I could not make it fresh.
So today with more snow falling it was time for a break, and I chose rice and beans. While I don’t pretend to be a master of Spanish cuisine, or even know a great traditional rice and bean recipes, I managed to come up with this one which I loved so much, I think I will try to make it each week. While looking at these ingredients, remember, this is all I had on hand that I could use. And while I normally do not stock shallots, I used them in place of onion since I had only a little garlic left and was unable to make the other recipe I had intended.
- 15 oz Can of Black Beans
- 15 oz Can of Chicken Broth
- 7 oz White Rice
- 1/2 oz. Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1 Small Shallot and/or half a small onion
- 1 oz of Vinegar (red or white, I used White Balsamic, its all I had)
- 1 small Bay Leaf
- 1/2 oz or teaspoon of Dry Oregano
- Pinch of Hot Red Chili Flakes (optional)
This is simple, cook your rice and sit it aside and keep it warm. I have a rice cooker. I got tired of a separate pot and boiling away all the flavor from the rice and this brings it down to a simple science. But for the cooking, I simply get a stock pot, add the oil, heat it, add the chili flakes, pepper, onion, shallots and garlic, and let simmer till soft (about 5-10 minutes). I then drain a can of black beans (or any beans you like but black are classic), and rinse them well. I don’t like that gooey liquid they pack them in, and I prefer to substitute it with about a half can of fresh spring water. Add in the bay leaf, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper, bring to a simmer and 25 mins later, its ready to serve over your hot white rice. Its very tasty and I love it even more with a few dashes of Tabasco or hot pepper sauce, plus it makes great leftovers (something I normally do not enjoy). Simple, inexpensive, fast, hearty, comforting.
The only thing I should note is that some of these standard size cans fluctuate in ounces, some are 14, or 14.5 or even 15 ounces, don’t let that bother you. If you are that precise, read the can, and add or reduce liquid accordingly, but in the end, remember, use half as much rice as liquid to cook and the more beans the merrier.
Of course you can use any beans, I don’t know that they taste all that much different once they are cooked for awhile with different spices, herbs and vegetables. The texture might be different, but there is nothing quite like the classic Black Beans & Rice.