Thursday, March 3, 2016

Rosemary Black Beans with Rice

This is happy vegetarian food, and only the optional yogurt makes it not vegan. It takes very little effort, but does need a cook paying vague attention  to the beans in the oven for several hours.  It's at its best if you have Rancho Gordo midnight black beans in the pantry ahead of time.

TOOLS
Strainer or colander
Dutch oven with lid
Stovetop pan with lid
Oven mitts
Measuring cup
Big spoon

INGREDIENTS
One pound dried small black beans
Rosemary, either several sprigs fresh or a tablespoon dried
Three cloves of garlic, either crushed or minced

Two cups rice (brown for added nutrients or white for beauty)

Yogurt or sour cream (optional but good)
Salsa (optional but good)

STEPS
Preheat oven to 325.

Rinse the beans in a strainer.

Put beans, rosemary, and garlic in a dutch oven. Add enough water so that there's a full inch above the beans.

Bring to a boil on the stove top. (This article notes that you do want to do things a little differently with red pinto beans or white cannellini beans, and also confirms that you don't need to soak beans when you use this oven method)

Cover and place in the oven.

Set a timer for 70 minutes and carry the timer with you everywhere you go.

After 70 minutes, take one bean out of the pot give it a few seconds to cool, and bit it.  It'll probably have a bit of crunch and a bit of dryness inside.  If so, set your timer for 10 minutes and put the beans back in the oven.  Expect to do this repeatedly until you really like the texture and taste of your beans.

Meanwhile, bring four cups of water to a boil in a pan on the stove top, and add the two cups of rice. Reduce heat to very low, and cover the rice.  Figure out how long it needs to cook (often 20 minutes for white and 40 for brown), and set another timer for that. 

When the rice timer goes off, check that the rice tastes done. If yes and the water is gone, recover and set somewhere off the heat for five minutes. If yes and there's still water, drain and then set somewhere for five minutes.  If no and there's still water, cook two minutes and check. If no and there isn't still water, add a quarter cup or water and cook two minutes and check.  When you think the rice is done, do the thing about the five minutes.

When you like your beans, drain them in a strainer.

Serve with optional yogurt and optional salsa.

LUXURY VARIATION
The first time I made this, I put a tablespoon of butter in the rice pan, melted it, and added a half cup of chopped onions.  I cooked the onions on low heat until they were very soft, and then added the rice and boiling water. That adds a really nice added flavor.  Done with oil instead of butter, would also work for vegan friends and lactose intolerant pals.

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