I may have mentioned before that I ate my fair share of rice and beans while we were in Africa. We had rice & beans almost every meal for 4 weeks straight. As you can see in this picture, our food was lovingly prepared in a wheel (no, that's not a pot), and while they might have been higher in iron (yuk, yuk, yuk-- that joke was for you, Dad), they were definitely lacking in flavor.
Ironically, one of the "pieces of Africa" that I brought home with me was my appreciation for rice & beans. They're nutritious, cheap, yummy (when made right), easy to prepare, and can last you through the week. I've decided that every couple of weeks, I'm going to make a huge mass of rice & beans, and eat them for those busy weekday meals. They're the perfect microwave dinner =)
Every woman in my [Guatemalan] family has their own take on rice & beans. This is mine, born more out of a forgetfulness of how my mom always makes them than a creative cultural flare. Try some this week-- you'll be so glad you did!
- Quarter a large onion
- Quarter a large bell pepper
- Peel about 3 or 4 garlic cloves
- Rinse a bag of dry black beans under water, checking for rocks or dirt
- Throw all those ingredients into a crock pot & cover with lots of water and a fistful of salt
The beauty of this "recipe" is that it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, makes more beans than you can shake a stick at, freezes really well (I usually freeze half), and you can prep it in the morning, leave for work, and come home to dinner! It works on a stove, as well-- just cook on low for several hours
- Chop 1/2 an onion
- Chop 1/2 to 3/4 bell pepper
- Mince 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
- Thinly slice about 1/4 cup carrots
- Add 2 cups white rice, a little more olive oil, and sautee for a few more minutes, adding a tablespoon or so of chicken broth
- Add 4 cups chicken broth and one diced chipotle in adobo (pictured, right) and salt
The rice is a little spicy, so if you want to tone it down, just put in 1/2 a chipotle pepper. It's amazing how flavorful this rice is, though-- it rivals risotto in taste & texture.
Serve the rice & beans with sauteed red peppers & onions, some sliced avocado, and a little crumbled cotija cheese & lime wedges (like I did in this [slightly blurry] photo!). You've just spent about $6 on food that will last you for weeks! Yum!
More recipes to come-- I've made so many delicious wonders this last week that I simply must share ;)