My Goal: To create a rice and beans dish with relative rice and beans cost without the rice and beans boringness. With a few added farmers market veggies and some spices to the beans on top of cilantro lime brown rice, this dish turned out to be an total success! The end result was a stew-like bean dish, fancy enough to serve friends for dinner (or to be enjoyed throughout the week, as I did).
Cooking Dried Beans
If you need a quick and easy way to make this dish you can always get a couple of cans of beans, but I strongly, strongly recommend soaking your own. Not only is it exorbitantly cheaper than the canned variety, but with a few minutes set aside for planning, it really doesn’t take that much time or effort.
1. Sort them. Lay out your beans and look for any rocks, or beans that are particularly dark in color (this is a taste, not a health issue).
2. Wash them. Put beans in a colander and run cold water over them, while moving the beans around.
3. Soak them. Place beans in a big pot or bowl with a lot of water (should be thoroughly covered. Put in the fridge and soak overnight (the longer you soak, the less the cooking time will be).
4. Drain them. Drain your beans and put in a pot with fresh water (enough to cover by a few inches). You can salt the water if you’d like.
5. Cook them. Bring water to boil, then down to a simmer, and cook beans for about an hour and a half. I like to keep a little excess of water, to have a brothier consistency. If there is too much water you can save a few cups and then drain the beans.
Not Your Average Beans-and-Rice
This makes enough for between 6-7 meals (I ate it throughout the week)
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 lime (unwaxed)
4-5 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cups cooked beans (or two cans roughly), and some bean juice
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes (or 4 smaller ones depending on the season and type), coarsely chopped
1 can organic corn (I used canned corn because fresh corn is so out of season, but of course, fresh is always better if available)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 Tablespoon Cumin
2 Tablespoons red chile powder
1/2 Teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Tortillas to serve
1. Cook the rice. Zest one lime. Stir in olive oil, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place tortillas in a damp towel in a large casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes
3. While the rice is cooking, and the tortillas are warming heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan, and add the onions.
4. Once onions are translucent, stir in garlic, jalapeño and spices (except the oregano). Cook until fragrant (between 1 and 2 minutes).
5. Add in peppers and cook for a few minutes (until soft). Add in tomatoes, beans, 1 cup extra bean juice (or vegetable broth or water) and corn. Bring down to a simmer and cook about twenty minutes.
Add more liquid if necessary. Stir in oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. I often add in a little more red chile powder at this point!
Put beans over rice. At this point, you can add on any garnishes you like. I used the other half of the lime left over from the rice, half an avocado, and some chopped up red onion. Don’t forget your tortillas in the oven!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.