May 14, 2007

Black Beans & Rice

30 oz canned black beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 small onion, quartered
6 cloves garlic, 4 minced and 2 left whole
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
8 small chili peppers, 5 minced and 3 cut in half
2 teaspoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

to serve: hot white rice

Pour the canned black beans (with their liquid) in a large pot with the 2 whole cloves garlic, small quartered onion, 3 halved chili peppers, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. In a saute pan, saute chopped onion, minced garlic and chili peppers until fragrant and soft (about 4 minutes). Add the sugar, vinegar, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the beans with their liquid to the saute pan and mash them with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. Add this mixture back into the beans. Bring back to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. If the mixture gets too thick, thin it slightly with water. Serve hot, with white rice.
My thoughts:
Black beans and rice are one of those dishes that seem like more than the sum of their parts. The simplest ingredients- spices, beans, onions and garlic form a truly satisfying dish. Perfect for when you have a craving for something comforting and it is even better when you can convince someone else (in my case, my husband Matt) to make it for you, so all you have to do is enjoy. While I love it as-is, I also enjoy it with some sliced or diced avocado on top.