An Old Staple Becomes New…..Again!
The Captain and I are somewhat adventurous when it comes to eating new foods. Actually, the Captain more than I, but when it comes to rice and beans….we love whatever combination we can find.
Living in Florida has introduced us to Latin American foods. We have visited Puerto Rico, …but the influx of Peruvian, Columbian and Cuban cultures in Southwest Florida has given us a different view of Latin American foods.
This old staple of beans and rice (or rice and beans) has been around for years.
There is Mexican, Cajun, Southern, Creole, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Columbian just to name a few, and with all the variations…there is the basic fact that this is definitely good eats, no mater what seasonings you use.
The next bit of good news is that the combination is a healthy choice (lots of fiber and protein) and the fact that you can buy dry beans and a bag of rice for very little money… really helps to keep the food budget, low cost. You will note in the above picture, I have pinto beans, red beans and black beans.
Another bit of good news is that all ingredients go together in one pot…after prepping of course. This allows the flavors to percolate and permeate and well, just meld together for good taste.
I hope there is a Latin American food market near you…which is where I found a salsa/sauce called Lizano Salsa. (Sometimes Wal-Mart has items your local supermarket does not have.)
This salsa/sauce makes the beans and rice have an almost “creamy” texture….just melts in your mouth. And if you want to add a little more protein to the meal…top the beans and rice with a fried egg. Many Mexican recipes call for an egg or two on top.
Experiment a little with different rice(s)….brown, yellow….white!
I just wish you were sitting at my kitchen table, right this minute, sharing this wonderful staple that is served at many Latin American tables.
- 1 cup long-grain white rice (or you can use brown or yellow rice)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil for softening the onion, peppers and garlic
- 1 cup of chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup of chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup of chopped yellow bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small (7 3/4 oz) can of El Pato brand tomato sauce (Wal-Mart has this brand)
- 2 cups of cooked pinto, black or red beans (or large can of your favorite beans, rinsed and drained)
- 3 tablespoons Lizano Salsa (you can always add a little more, keep tasting)
- freshly ground black pepper and dash of salt
- Fresh cilantro and limes for garnish
- Prepare rice according to package directions using water or chicken or vegetable broth (I use a rice cooker, but you can cook on top of the stove...just be sure to cover with a lid after bringing to a boil and let simmer)
- While rice is cooking, heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat.
- Add onion, bell peppers, garlic and cumin, stirring until soft ...which should take about 3 minutes Add the tomato sauce and continue stirring and cooking for another 2 minutes
- Stir in your choice of beans with about a cup of water (or broth)
- Reduce heat to medium-low, simmering until most of the liquid is reduced (about 5 more minutes)
- Carefully add in about 3/4 of the rice along with the Lizano Salsa and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and a bit of salt
- Cover and reduce heat to low.
- *I like to serve the beans and rice in an individual serving dish and then I take the remainder of the rice and place it on top of the mixed beans and rice mixture. I think it gives a bit more texture to the dish.:)
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime!
- If using black beans, be sure to rinse well and drain....it can sometimes make your rice look "muddy".
- No Lizano Salsa? make your own sauce by adding 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of molasses.
- You can also turn up the heat with the addition of El Pato Jalapeno salsa in place of the tomato sauce, if desired.