At least I know I can always make excellent Beans and Rice.
I fell in love with beans and rice during my brief attempt at vegetarianism, in high school. My mom discovered that together they make up a complete protein, and I’ve been eating them ever since, even after I renewed my relationship with hamburgers. I’ve experimented with multiple variations, I’ve used mixes from a box and from scratch, I’ve added chicken and sausage and beef, but no matter how I put it together, it is always deeply satisfying. When I was in college, this was a meal I made at least once a week, and it occurred to me the other day that it had been quite awhile since it had graced my kitchen. More significantly, as the one dish I’ve perfected from countless experiments, it was a dinner that has been surprisingly absent from this website.
The version I made last night was actually different from any I’d made before, and I think one of my very best. I had some leftover portobellos, which I’d never used before, and I decided to add tomato paste and red wine: both new additions. I also tossed in a dash of some kind of creole seasoning, which has been on our spice rack for who knows how long, but I suspect that it didn’t really add much to the overall taste, so I left it out of the recipe. I should probably remove it from the spice rack, too.
Super Happy Making Black Beans and Rice
- 1 c. brown rice
- 2 1/4 c. chicken stock
- 2 T. concentrated tomato paste (maybe a bit more if you’re not using concentrated)
- about 1/2 T. coriander
- about 1/2 T. cumin
- a bit more than 1 tsp. cayenne powder
- salt and black pepper
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely (I actually used my garlic press this time)
- about 1 or 2 large portobello mushroom caps, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (I probably used a little less than a cup, chopped)
- 1 green and 1 red pepper, sliced thinly and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 can of black beans, with the bean liquid
- about 1/3 c. red wine
- more salt and pepper
Add the rice, chicken stock, tomato paste, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and a bit of salt and pepper to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 50 minutes. If you’re using white rice, you probably only need about 20 to 30 minutes.
When the rice is about half an hour from being finished, heat the olive oil in a very large skillet. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the mushrooms, and mostly leave them be. Stir maybe every 3 minutes. Let this all cook until the mushrooms release some of their liquid, and onions are barely starting to brown. Add the chopped peppers, and saute all this together for another few minutes, until the peppers just start to soften. Then add the beans and a bit of red wine. Stir it all together, add some salt and pepper, and lower the heat. Let this all simmer for about 10 or 15 minutes, while the rice cooks.
Once the rice is done (I usually leave a little bit of liquid in the pan) add the rice to the bean mixture, and stir it all together. Let it cook together for just a few minutes more, so the rice can soak up some of the bean juices.
I topped it with a bit of parmesan, which added a nice edge. This recipes makes a lot of food, probably enough to feed six people as a main course. The portobellos added a nice meatiness, though I’m still kind of partial to sausage. Which probably makes this a double protein-packed punch. But it is a spicy, filling, comforting protein-packed punch, and I love it.