Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Easy Rice & Beans

I judge myself when I used canned beans...  there is no excuse for not soaking your own. Unless you take into account the fact that some people have laundry to do, bills to pay and degrees to earn, all of which have led me to my most recent discovery: not all canned beans are created equally.

The most common varietal of canned bean is either generic [store-brand] or Goya; these range from 59 to 99 cents a can and are typically higher in sodium than they are protein & fiber. They also come packed in a slimy, starchy goo and the bottom of the can is an ambiguous mushy conglomeration of bean & packing liquid. I once believed these were the only sorts of convenient canned bean available, but I recently learned there are better canned beans out there- they are organic and cost 5 times as much [5 dolla & change], but they're definitely worth it, at least when the beans are the star of the show.  You probably don't believe me, I probably wouldn't either, but just try it- at least once. The beans are firm and they are not engorged with salt and water, and you won't find any of that goO at the bottom of the can either. Anyways, enough chit chat- let's get cookin'.

For the Beans:
1- 14.5 oz Can Organic Black Beans
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
half of one medium Yellow Onion, medium dice
half of one Green Bell Pepper, medium dice
half of one Jalepeño [optional], leave it in-tact for more mild heat, or chop it up for amplified spice
3 cloves Garlic, smashed & peeled
2 dried Bay Leaves
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro
Kosher Salt & cracked Black Pepper, as needed

For the Rice:
the other half of that medium Yellow Onion, medium dice
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1 Cup White Rice
2 Cups Hot Water

Let's start the beans first:
1. Heat a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Once the pan is hot, add the 2 tsp of oil and allow to heat up [about 10 seconds], then add the onions, bay leaves, dried oregano & a pinch of salt. Stir the ingredients together and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are softened and translucent and the dried herbs are fragrant.
3. Add your smashed garlic cloves, jalapeño and bell pepper and stir.
4. Once the bell pepper is softened, add the can of beans and half a cup of water; stir.
5. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the fresh cilantro and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
6. Adjust seasoning with salt as necessary. Serve with rice.

For the rice:
1. Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Once the pan is hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and allow that to heat up [about 10 seconds], then add the chopped onion and 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt.
3. Cook the onions until translucent and then add 1 Cup of rice. Lightly toast the rice and stir  to coat the grains with oil.
4. Add 2 cups of hot water, stir, and raise the temperature to high.
5. Bring the rice to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and reduce the heat to low.
6. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, being mindful of the steam that will billow out when you remove the lid to take a peak, check your rice. If all of the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and keep it covered until you are ready to serve. If it needs more time, cook for an addition 5-7 minutes or until done.
7. Fluff with a fork and serve with your beans.

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