This week’s recipe was red beans and rice, as laid out by Bronwen:

FOR RICE
medium grain inexpensive rice
saffron (not too expensive at trader joe’s)
chicken bullion cube
olive oil
1 onion
corn (either frozen or cut off the cob if you can get it)

AS TOPPINGS
canned black beans (preferably goya or another cheap brand that has plenty of salt)
medium/hot salsa
avocado
sour cream
cheddar or monterey jack cheese

DIRECTIONS

Begin by sauteeing the sliced/chopped onion in the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Precise proportions aren’t important. When the onion is tender and translucent, add the rice, saffron, and bullion cube and stir it around a bit, breaking up the bullion cube until the rice starts to crackle a bit. Add the water and cook as directed on rice package. Stir occasionally to be sure that the bullion and saffron flavor is evenly distributed. When the rice is almost done cooking, stir in the corn and steam briefly.

Meanwhile, heat up the beans. You can drain them if you wish, but it’s good if you leave them a bit juicy/soupy. Also, grate cheese, and slice avocado.

Scoop some rice into a bowl. Put beans on top on one side, avocados, salsa, sour cream on the other. Sprinkle grated cheese all over.  Eat, crafting your bites as you go.

I had a cob leftover from last week’s farmer’s market visit, so I set that to boil while I began the rice.

I used some remarkably pungent tiny red onions – I think a few tears dropped in as I sauteed them.  Just a little extra salt.

Once tender, I added about 3/4 cup of Bob’s short grain white rice (sorry, recipe, the options at my house or short or long.  We do not know this medium of which you speak.  At any rate, the rice was well suited to the recipe.)

It pretty much sizzled right from the beginning, so I just gave it a couple minutes before I added chicken broth.  Bronwen recommended the bouillon for saltiness, but using the broth I didn’t find it lacking in saltiness.  I also didn’t buy any saffron, not wanting to drive to Trader Joe’s just to pick it up.  And the saffron at New Season’s cost $854/ounce.  I’m not making that up.  It came in an $8 container.  I didn’t actually see any saffron in the container; perhaps it was just filled with saffron dust?  At any rate, my splurge on figs was making me feel cheap.

Meanwhile, the rice is simmering with 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and a good dash of cajun seasoning.

Let’s take a look at our bean options.

Don’t let the brand names mislead you, the only difference between these beans is the size of the can.  Both companies are divisions of The Hain Celestial Group.  Huh?  I went with the smaller can, heating them in a pan with a dash of salt (I felt like I’d ignored all of the salt directives in the recipe, so I threw in some sea salt to make it up.)

I sliced avocado, cut a tiny garden tomato into chunks, and grated some Tillamook cheddar.  As the rice was almost done, I sliced the corn off the cob and threw it in.  Then I used way too many dishes making it look pretty.

Then I made it messy and, as Bronwen said, crafted my bites as I went.  Hearty, tasty, filling.  Should make good leftovers, which is one of my main food criteria these days.

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