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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:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_bean...
    http://southernfood.about.com/cs/redb...

    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
      Water

      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
      Water
      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
      Water

      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.
          Enjoy

          http://www.dominicancooking.com/beans...

          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
            Salt
            Water

            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!