Returning home after volunteering at the farmers market Saturday, a perfectly crisp autumn day, I was greeted by a warming bowl of rice and beans (n’chorizo). A hearty dish with a bit of an identity crisis – is it a chili, a stew, side dish, protein, a carb!? However it’s classified, one thing is for certain – it’s pretty darn tasty. Not to mention, to quote my Mom – it really “sticks to your ribs.” (That’s what she always said about an oatmeal breakfast but I think the phrase more than fits here as well.)
Friday, when preparing this dish I chose to use red beans and brown rice. The beauty of a dish like this is not only the value (I mean, does a hearty meal come cheaper?) but the variety – use the rice and beans as a blank canvas for your culinary creations. Here is just my take on the classic.
1 cup dried red beans
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 lb. fresh chorizo
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange…whatever!), diced
2 T tomato paste
1 T cumin
1 T Spanish hot smoked paprika
First step: if you have dried beans (and they really are the way to go…) you’ve gotta bring them back to life. Either 1 – soak them over night in water (6-8 hours) or use a quick reconstituting method by placing one cup of beans in a saucepan with 3-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours or until desired texture.
Now for the rice n’beans: First brown the chorizo in a large pot. After browning for a few minutes on each side remove and place on a baking sheet. Finish cooking in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Set aside. In the same pot add a little oil and cook the onions, once soft add the garlic. After a few minutes add peppers. Cook until onions begin to brown. Next stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two. Add rice, spices, beans and cooked chorizo back into the pot, stir and add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Check for seasoning about half way through. I added more salt and a little more paprika. Once the water has been absorbed and the rice cooked give it all a good fluff with a fork and you’re ready to enjoy!With all it made I’ll be eating rice n’beans for a week! It would be great with some avocado and cilantro mixed in too… the possibilities are endless!