“Black beans and rice”

Apologies for the hiatus between posts! It’s been a busy few weeks, filled with weddings, visitors, and birthdays. The temperatures have become increasingly cooler in New York in the last few weeks, and I would venture to say that fall has arrived.

Every fall I find myself ready to cook heartier food like stews, roasts and pies. Recently, I made the first soup of the season and I am getting the urge to make either a pumpkin or apple bread. Plans to go apple-picking a few weeks ago were thwarted due to rainy weather, but my disappointment has at least been eased by the fact that I have been able to find some of my favorite apple varietals in the stores recently.

The following recipe is really a muddle of ingredients, but it is a perfect example of the type of food that I am craving right now. I call this recipe ‘Black Beans and Rice’ but it should really be categorized as a black bean chili. Strangely enough, I like to sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top, instead of a more suitable cheddar or cojita cheese. You could use something other than Parmesan, but I suggest that you take a leap of faith and try it, because it really does taste great. In fact, as I ate this the other night I realized that the leftover rice in my fridge would be perfect reheated and served with a simple combination of Parmesan cheese and peas. Italians would call this combination “Risi e Bisi”, which translated into English is “Rice and Peas”. Traditionally, Rise e Bisi is made with short-grain Arborio rice, but it is nearly as delicious made with long grain white or brown rice.  In fact, I think that I will go make it right now. In the meantime, enjoy the following recipe!

Happy Cooking,

“Black Beans and Rice”

Serves 4

For the Rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups of water
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 For the Beans:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 26-ounce box/can of chopped tomatoes (I like Pomî tomatoes)
  • 1 19-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, cleaned and leaves picked (for garnish)
  • Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese (for garnish)

For the Rice:

1.     Place the rice, water, salt, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. As soon as the water begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 45 minutes over low heat.

For the Beans:

1.     Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat and sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil until transluscent.

2.     Add the oregano, cumin, and chili powder and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

3.     Add the tomatoes and bay leaf and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until fully flavored.

4.     Add the black beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with the rice, fresh cilantro, and grated parmesan cheese.