Having my dad in town is a good excuse not only to cook but to try recipes I might not normally make. Like a vegetarian or vegan side dish. I love black beans and knew when I came across this recipe that I would most likely love the flavor of the dish. It ended up exceeding my expectations.
- 1 c. dry black beans (I used pinto beans because I didn’t have any black)
- 2 c. black bean “stock”
- 1/4 c. vegetable, canola, olive or avocado oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, insides removed and chopped
- 3 serrano peppers, chopped
- 2 c. uncooked long-grain white or brown rice or wild rice
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. oregano
- 1 large whole bay leaf
- The night before soak the beans in a large pot of water. Drain well. Place the beans on the stove in a pot with plenty of fresh water, covering the beans completely. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until nice and tender but not mushy. Let cool. Drain the beans from the stock and set the stock aside.
- Heat the oil in a pot along with the onion, garlic and peppers and saute until the onion is golden. Add the rice, salt, cumin, oregano and bay leaf, then the bean stock and the beans. Cover. Place the pot over high heat until it comes to a boil. Stir to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking until the water has completely soaked into the rice. If you taste the rice and find the rice is still a bit crunchy, you can add more bean stock and continue to cook until the rice is done. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before serving.
I purposely made this dish vegan by omitting the 3 strips of bacon called for instead of the vegetable oil. I figured since I was making such a healthy side dish I might as well make it as healthy as possible 1) because my dad likes to eat healthy whenever possible and 2) because I was curious how I would like the taste.
The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt. I added two out of laziness (I had a half-tablespoon measuring spoon nearby) and found that I needed to add a crap-ton more salt to the pot once the dish was done cooking. I have a high salt-threshold, so you may not feel the need to do so.
I thought this dish was deliciously healthy as is and didn’t really even wonder what it would taste like using bacon and bacon grease instead of vegetable oil. I did, however, keep thinking to myself that it would taste even better if it was mixed with cheese. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can’t take the Wisconsin out of the girl.
I ended up adding quite a bit more of the bean ‘stock’ to the rice while cooking as my rice didn’t seem to be absorbing the stock very quickly. I may have ended up adding too much because the final product was a bit creamy. Almost like a risotto. I actually think I wouldn’t have liked the dish so much if it were dry.
I would love to try this dish again – this time using black beans. This is a dish that would work well to take to work if you like bringing leftovers to work for your lunch. It makes a huge bowl. So either share it with family and friends or plan on eating it for days on end.