Feb 12, 2009

A Weeknight Staple

Most nights my first task upon arriving home is to throw rice, salt & water in the rice cooker and turn it on. Then I have about 20 minutes to change clothes, flip through the mail and figure out what else to make. Since the contents of my pantry remain pretty consistent, I tend towards a few staple recipes – this is one of them. 

Dinner For One: Spicy Black Beans and Rice

I’ve been known to eat a bowl of these black beans all by themselves, but the addition of rice creates a complete protein.

How I made it:
Start the rice. Finely chop half of a white onion and one clove of garlic. Heat a swirl of olive oil in a small sauce pot, add half the chopped onion and all of the garlic. Once the onion has softened and started to become translucent, add 4 or 5 shakes each of chili powder and ground cumin to the pot and stir to coat the onions with the spices. You want to let it cook for a minute & then add a can of black beans and stir.

Once the beans have heated through, add a little salt and black pepper and squeeze in the juice from a quarter of a lime. Black beans can be really heavy and the acidity from the lime juice will brighten up the flavor and cut some of the thickness. If you don’t have a lime handy, a splash of vinegar actually works too. You won’t actually taste any acidic flavor – it’ll just taste… better.

Keep the beans over low heat until the rice is ready & then pile them both in a bowl. Top with sour cream, hot sauce, chopped cilantro & the reserved chopped onion. Grated cheese and, of course a little pickled jalapeno, never hurts either.

A note about fresh herbs:
Fresh cilantro, parsley or chives can really boost a dish – they add fresh flavor & color. If you don’t have a spot to grow your own, or it’s the dead of winter, you can still get a little green… Buy a bunch of any herb & put the stems in a cup of water (a drinking glass works great). Cover the leaves with the plastic produce bag you brought the herbs home in & store the whole thing in the fridge. If you change the water every few days, the herbs will stay fresh for two weeks or more. You’ll find yourself added some to everything you make – even if it’s just a little garnish!


Erin said...

I always drain and rise black beans before I use them. Did you use them with the juice from the can or rinse them first?

The Single Gal said...

I'm somewhere in between... I usually drain about half the liquid. I like them soupy!

E.Ruff said...

I think this is one of the most frequently eaten meals ever at your house :) Miss it!