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Rice and Beans

In my on-going attempt to add new dishes and variety to my repertoire, I have an urge to make rice and beans. I'm sure it's relatively easy, but I don't know where to begin. I've never cooked beans before. Red beans? Black beans? Something other kind of beans?

My goal here is to have something that can be cooked a day or so in advance, like on a Sunday, so my children can eat it during the week. They are (almost) 3 years old and 10 months old, and luckily they are good eaters, so I'm always trying to introduce them to new and tasty dishes. Don't want anything too spicy, although moderately spicy is okay.

Also, I'm always looking for a reason to cook things in my LeCreuset dutch ovens, but I've been contemplating buying a slow cooker. Not even sure which you would use for basic rice and beans.

Any suggestions would be appreciated...Thanks!

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  1. There are a huge number of rice and beans dishes, using red beans, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc etc etc. Here are some starting points:


    1. Oh how I love to preach the gospel of Rice and Beans. Now is a great time of year for many beans and peas as you can get them fresh at farmer’s markets. Also, Rancho Gordo (google them) has a great variety of dried beans that are worth exploring. I am going to post some of my favorite rice and bean dishes for you but you can go to my site (www.lemonsandbeans.com) and see pictures if that makes it easier. The last is a Green Chile dish and thus more bean than rice. Enjoy

      Cannellini Beans Soup with Prosciutto Shards and 2 Beers

      1lb Cannellini Beans, soaked and drained
      1 Onion, minced
      2 Garlic Cloves, minced
      1½ Cups Crushed Tomatoes
      1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
      2 Bottles of beer, pale lager
      3 tbsp Olive Oil
      1/2 lb Prosciutto Ends, trimmed of excess fat and cut thin
      1 tbsp Thyme, dried
      ½ tbsp Marjoram, dried
      ½ tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
      4 Cups Chicken Stock
      2 tsp Salt, more to taste
      2 tbsp Molasses

      Soak and drain the Beans. Cover with water and cook for 1 hour. In a separate pan, heat the Olive Oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the Apple Cider Vinegar and reduce for about another 5 minutes. Add the Garlic, Thyme and Marjoram. Sauté and additional 3 minutes then add one of the Beers, the Prosciutto shards and the Salt. Reduce for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the contents of the pan along with the remaining Beer, Tomatoes, Molasses and Chicken stock to the semi-cooked beans and simmer for about an hour.

      Upon further reflection and tinkering with the soup, I think the beans should be drained after an hours of cooking (cooking water retained). Then proceed as described above but extend the broth cooking time for another hour to allow the Prosciutto to soften (no one wants jerky soup). After these two hours, add the beans in for a final hour of cooking. This should help the beans retain their shape and texture and give the Prosciutto end shards time to soften.

      Or maybe just use fresh Prosciutto that is cut to dime thickness and then into angular pieces smaller than a matchbook but a little bigger than the beans. Here is what it is, cook the soup until the Prosciutto is soft but done cook the beans to mush.

      Garnish with Olive Oil or maybe a little fresh Arugula or some shaved Romano Cheese. A few toast-point type things might be nice.

      Hoppin’ John; 2 Ways

      Good Mother Stallards and Rice

      1 lb Good Mother Stallard Beans, Dried
      3 Smoked, Ham Hocks
      3 tbsp Full Flavored Olive Oil
      1 Sweet Onion, Minced
      1 cup Sofrito
      1 ½ Amber Rum
      ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
      1 bottle Pilsner or Lager Beer
      1 ¼ cup Long Grain Rice
      Salt and Pepper

      Pick through and rinse the Beans. Soak for about 4 hours, longer if you are using old or bulk dried beans. Go the extra mile here and order some beans from Rancho Gordo (the link is in the side bar). You will not be disappointed. Drain the Beans again and place them in a large pot or dutch oven. Cover the Beans with water plus a few cups and nestle the Ham Hocks in amongst them. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about two hours. You can turn the Ham Hocks a few times to make sure all of the flavor is getting into the water. In a separate pan heat the Oil and sauté the Onions for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the Sofrito and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Rum and flame off the excess alcohol (don’t light yourself on fire) or just allow it to simmer off over medium heat. Add the Apple Cider Vinegar and Beer and reduce for another 5 minutes. Remove the Hocks from the Beans and discard or eat the tasty meat off of them. Add the contents of the pan to the pot with the Beans and bring back to a simmer. Add the Rice. Use less if needed. You pretty much have to eyeball the amount of liquid in the pot. 1½ cups of Rice should absorb about 3 cups of liquid. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat and serve. The pictures above are for this recipe. Sorry, no pictures of the other Hoppin’ John recipe. This has a more Central American feel owing to the Sofrito and Rum. The following recipe is more typical of Low Country or Creole cooking.

      Yellow Eye Bean Hoppin’ John

      1 lb Yellow Eye Beans
      2 Sweet Onions finely chopped (1 bunch purple spring onion, if in season
      )6 Slices thick cut bacon, chopped
      ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
      3 Tsp. Salt
      ½ Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
      1 Tsp. Mexican Oregano
      1 16oz. Miller High Life
      1 Cup Long Grain Rice

      And yes, I realize that they are pretty much the same recipes.

      Green Chili with Roasted Anaheim Peppers

      I pound dried great northern beans
      1 pound ground pork
      1 large yellow onion, finely minced
      3 cloves smoked garlic (right out of the 005)
      1 smoked key lime (likewise)
      5 roasted and peeled Anaheim Peppers
      2 tsp. Mexican Oregano
      2 tsp. fresh toasted and ground cumin seeds
      Salt to taste
      I 12 or 16 oz beer such as Miller High Life
      6 to 8 cups of stock (vegetable, chicken or pork will do)

      Sort and rinse the beans then soak overnight and cook without salt or stock, just beer and water until just about done and much of the water is gone (stock cubes are great in this recipe because you don’t have to add more liquid volume) Brown the meat in a little oil. Sauté the remaining ingredients in the rendered fat as you would imagine, adding the spices at the end. Chop up the roasted, peeled and seeded Anaheim Peppers and stir them in. Cook on low to combine flavors but not until the point where the beans have gone to mush. This can be made without meat.

      A hint of unsweetened white cacao powder or nutmeg at the end adds a nice complexity. Any deglazing can be done with cider vinegar or sherry.

      3 Replies
      1. re: frankiii

        There will still be alcohol in the beans if you use the beer and/or rum which will not be appropriate for an infant and toddler, though the recipes do look good.

        Alcohol Cook Off Chart: http://homecooking.about.com/library/...

        I'd suggest experimenting with different types of beans (red, black, blackeyed peas, white, cranberry, etc). and see what you and your family seems to like best. Rice and beans together make up a great source of protein.

        Instead of a slow cooker, you might consider investing in a pressure cooker. IMO a great resource when you want to cook beans in a hurry.

        1. re: C. Hamster

          I can see your point (though a little warm bourbon and lemon when I was a sick child seems to have had no ill effects). Regardless, I think the alcohol called for in these recipes will be almost wholly burned off as they are used to deglaze or as stock additions early in the cooking. All dishes are likely to run a few hours on the simmer. Important point either way.

          1. re: C. Hamster

            As an aside, for dinner tonight we're having a beef dish which was braised in a full bottle of red wine. But since it cooked for 2+ hours, and will be reheated on low for almost an hour tonight, I'm glad to see that most, if not all, the alcohol has been cooked off based on that chart!

        2. I'm from the Dominican Republic and we at beans almost every day. Here is a link for basic Dominican beans. They are great over white rice.


          1. Ooops, I forgot to include another recipe that I am really fond of. And yes, you could use your LeCreuset dutch oven for any of these. I do.

            Goat Eye Beans with Tasso

            1lb Dried Goat Eye Beans, picked over, cleaned, soaked and drained
            1 Bay Leaf
            2 tbsp Bacon Fat
            1 Sweet Onion, chopped
            1 Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
            2 Green Bell Peppers, chopped
            4 Cloves of Garlic, smashed and minced
            3 tbsp Chipotles, minced (with Adobo)
            1 cup Sofrito
            ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
            1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
            ¼ cup Molasses
            1 Pilsner or Lager Beer
            1lb Tasso, chopped to 1-inch slices
            1 ½ cups Long Grain Rice

            Cover the Beans with water and then some. Cook with the Bay Leaf for about 2 hours or until soft. Remove the Bay Leaf. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sauté the Onions, Garlic and Bell Peppers in the Bacon Fat for about 10 minutes. Add the Tasso and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Sofrito, Chipotles, half of the Apple Cider Vinegar, Molasses and the Beer. Cook for about another 10 minutes over medium high heat then add Pepper and Onion mixture to the beans along with Salt to taste (It will take a lot, like 3 or 4 teaspoons. It is a lot of beans). Bring back to temperature and adjust the amount of Water so there is about 3 cups of liquid total. Add the remaining Apple Cider Vinegar as well as the Sherry Vinegar. Fold in the Rice and cover. Cook for about 25 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Spicy, Fresh and Nice, Round Beans. I got my beans from Rancho Gordo as usual.

            1. Thanks for the ideas. Right before I came back to check this thread, I was looking at Rancho Gordo's site to see if I could get any ideas. I will definitely try ordering some stuff and experiment a bit.

              Any other ideas would be welcomed!

              1. Lentils are good, and they are probably the quickest cooking of any of the beans (under half an hour). The longest cooking are probably pintos, unless you soak them beforehand. If you can get them, Anasazi beans taste a lot like pintos but take a whole lot less time (about an hour, without soaking).

                there was a point in my life when I was really, really broke. I got some coarse cornmeal in the bulk bin at the local store and made polenta. Then I made a big pot of lentils. I sauteed slices of the polenta in just a little olive oil and served them with the lentils on top. I thought I was in Fat City, even though I had spent next to nothing for several days' worth of lunches.

                1. I have two kids under 4 and they both adore this recipe - granted I love it with tons of Tobasco - but for kids it works well.

                  1 lb mild Italian Sausage, crumbled
                  1 onion, chopped
                  1 green bell pepper, chopped
                  1 clove chopped garlic
                  2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
                  1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes ( I use the Hunt's kind with basil garlic and oregano)
                  1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
                  salt to taste
                  1/2 teaspoon pepper

                  1 In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and
                  stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
                  2 In a large skillet over low heat, cook sausage until done - drain fat.
                  Stir in onion, green pepper and garlic; saute until
                  tender. Pour in beans and tomatoes with juice. Season with
                  oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
                  Serve over rice.
                  (I mix the rice in)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: gotvin

                    My recipe is very simular to this one, except I use Andouille in stead of italian sausage. and i add Paprika, Cumin, Chili Powder & a bit of Cayenne.
                    It's not too spicy, u might not want to use any cayenne and maybe not the andouille....yum!

                    1. re: gotvin

                      This sounds good as a starting point. Will try it out next week and report back. Thanks.

                      1. re: valerie

                        this recipe is also very good with black beans!

                    2. Just made a large pot of red beans and rice - two weeks ago made a large pot of Hoppin' John. In a week or two I'll make my favorite: Gallo Pinto.

                      Gallo Pinto
                      4 cups cooked white rice (I usually cook it the night before and let it cool, uncovered, in the fridge overnight to dry out a bit)
                      2 cans black beans (no flavored), drained and rinsed
                      1 large red onion, peeled, trimmed, and diced
                      1 red bell pepper, trimmed, stemmed, and diced
                      1-2 tbls. vegetable oil
                      1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves removed from stalks and stalks discarded (decrease amount if not a fan of cilantro)
                      Worcestershire sauce

                      In a large pot sauté onion and bell pepper until crisp tender.
                      Add drained/rinsed black beans and cook until heated through.
                      Add white rice and season liberally with Worcestershire sauce (a couple of tablespoons, at least).
                      Stir to combine.
                      Cover, reduce heat, and let cook for a few minutes to combine flavors.
                      Turn-off heat and stir-in the cilantro leaves.

                      Serve warm or at room temp. Refrigerates well (I usually make a triple-batch and we eat on it for 3-4 days in a row - and I'm someone who doesn't like leftovers!).

                      Important: I think that Gallo Pinto must be served with a drizzling of Lizano Salsa (http://www.lizanosite.com/ ) - the flavor is difficult to duplicate and it gives this dish the spark that transforms it from being "good but kinda bland" to "Whoopee!". Really. It's worth ordering a small bottle just to try it. (We also like Lizano on egg dishes and occasionally on fish, but maybe we're weird that way.)

                      Oh, my sister (never the purist) insists on crushing Cool Ranch Doritos over her Gallo Pinto, prior to adding the Lizano. I think she's batty. (But it doesn't taste half bad, though I'll never tell her that.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ElsieDee

                        buen trabajo, ElsieDee! quizas una poca imperial, tambien?

                      2. If you have the freezer space, cook a huge amount of beans (any kind) and brown rice. Cool and freeze in 1 cup portions. From here you can go in any direction. My freezer is always stocked and ready to go Thai, Mexican, Chinese, whatever.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: pikawicca

                          my 1 and 4 year old love beans and brown rice. but what specifics do you do - mine tend to end up a bit bland and tasting the same from time to time. thanks!

                          1. re: AMFM

                            I tend to cook the separate rice and beans so that they ARE bland. That way I can cook up some veggies and season them any way I want, to go on top. I particularly like strong ethnic flavors, such as Thai or Mexican.

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              We have a 5 year old who thinks rice and beans are the best. I used to do just canned black beans and brown rice, cooked separately, but now I saute yellow onion and a clove of garlic, then add small diced zucchini and canned diced tomatoes, about 1 Tbs of chili powder, 1/2 to 1 tsp cumin and then the black beans. No need for salt with the canned beans. Cook about 20 minutes to marry the flavors. She still loves it and I've managed to get some vegetables into her. I usually top with cheddar cheese.

                              1. re: Texchef

                                mine would love that. it's not too far from what i do but may help it come together better. they love chick peas too - especially indian seasoned.

                                1. re: AMFM

                                  This sounds like a good version too. Dumb question -- do I cook the bean mixture and rice separately and then put the mixture over rice?

                                  1. re: valerie

                                    Yes, exactly right.

                                    Some dishes cook them together though, there's a central american dish that does this, the name translates to 'speckled rooster' due to the appearance.

                        2. Just a quick tip -- using a fragrant rice gives a whole extra level of flavor. Not traditional, but... I like basmati rice.

                          1. Don't forget Jamaican rice and peas!

                            This recipe calls for garlic, but usually I just cook the kidney beans in water with a few green onion stalks and a bit of seasoned salt. Many recipes include salt pork, but for vegetarian friends I often omit it.


                            1. There are some nice suggestions here, I'll check my books at home and see if I can add to them. I can think already of a mild Indian chickpea and squash dish that I love, which would go well with rice. I wanted to comment on the slow cooker idea. I recall that you do not want to cook kidney beans in a slow cooker, since there is a toxin that is only destroyed with high heat. This link briefly talks about this, and suggests cooking the kidney beans on the stove for 15 minutes before putting them in a slow cooker if you still want to use one.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: minyming

                                I've never heard this about kidney beans -- true or urban legend?

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  I tend to think this is true. I have a vague recollection of it being in the news a long time ago, but more compelling I think is that it is mentioned in seemingly trustworthy websites. I don't have a reference to say, Joy of Cooking, though I'll check tonight...Dunno, do these sound like good resources?
                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crock_pot (scroll down to food safety)

                                  1. re: minyming

                                    Thanks for the link. I also found the same info on the FDA's website. I'll certainly take more care when cooking kidney beans in the future!

                                2. re: minyming

                                  Yes, there are some great ideas. Thanks to all!

                                3. Just as a follow up, I decided to start with Gotvin's recipe since it was simple and only had a few ingredients. The only changes I made were that I used turkey sausage and I used red pepper rather than green pepper, since green pepper kills me. And when the rice was done (I used brown rice), I put it into the saute pan and just mixed the whole thing up, rather than just putting the bean/sausage mixture over rice.

                                  I made the dish on Tuesday night with the intention of my kids having it for dinner on Wednesday. As I was finishing it up on the stove, my daughter, the almost 3 year old chowhound, kept coming over to the stove to see what I was making. When I was done cooking and putting the finished product into a container to go into the refrigerator, my daughter demanded that I let her lick the wooden spoon. Ok, fine. And then she literally wanted to lick the saute pan (obviously I didn't let her do this!).

                                  The point is that she LOVED this dish! She wanted to eat it then and there, until I finally made her realize that she had already eaten dinner and that this was for dinner the next night. My son, almost 11 months, liked it, but didn't quite devour it like my daughter (he's still a chowhound in training!). In fact, my when it was time for dinner the next night, my daughter didn't even want to wait for it to be heated up -- she ate it cold!

                                  And to make it an even bigger success, my babysitter (who gives my kids dinner before I get home from work) asked me for the recipe! She loved it too.

                                  So thanks for all of your ideas. I will definitely make this version again, and try some others as well...