Meatless Black Beans and Rice
Is there anything more comforting that a piping hot bowl of creamy, soupy, and tangy black beans nestled amongst some fluffy white rice? Oh, there is? Well, ok. I love my bed too, but we’re talking food people. And were talkin’ BLACK BEANS AND RICE.
Here we are, back on this same road. This culinary road that I’ve been on my whole life. I should’ve know there were and is even more dishes along this road like black beans and rice that I was ignorantly blind to. I most definitely stumbled across this dish by accident, and fell right in love with it.
A Chance Meeting
My first run in with black beans and rice happened, well right here at home. We were having our classic “meatless burrito night.” Which entails standard flour tortillas, rice, corn, black beans, and all the fixin’s. In preparing the meal, and looking the can of black beans, I saw the recipe for black beans and rice. My curiosity was piqued, as I was already a HUGE fan of red beans and rice. (I’m finding I’m a fan of all Cajun cuisine.) As curious I was, I didn’t make the dish soon after finding the recipe. On the contrary, it took me a very long time to muster up the courage (and to find the Sazon) to stick this one in front of the wife and kids. One day, I finally did, and it paid off. The whole family approved. Well, except maybe not our youngest daughter who, “doesn’t like white rice. It’s not brown.” Meaning our fried rice. 😊
You had me at “acidity”
This was a surprising dish to me all together. I was never the black bean’s biggest fan by any means. The stuff along with the beans always weirded me out. Plus, they’re black! The only other black food I eat that I can think of off the top of my head is Oreos, and that hardly ever happens anymore. I never expected the acidity, or the tang of the beans, but it’s great. The apple cider vinegar sings from the beans like it’s in the last top ten of American Idol. It’s the perfect complement to the creamy richness of the black beans. It also boasted a lot of my favorite seasonings, coriander, cumin, and oregano. The recipe originally called for “a packet of Sazon without annatto.” I didn’t know what Sazon was at the time and I wasn’t much for researching the ingredients at the time. I’ve started making my own Sazon spice mix and it really bumps up the flavor. I just used equal parts cumin, oregano, coriander, onion powder, and garlic powder. Use a teaspoon whenever a recipe calls for “a packet of Sazon.”
The Search for Sazon
One day at our local Dollar General, my wife and I stopped by to grab one of those essentials that you just don’t want to drive out to a larger store for, and I happened by the mark down…shelf…area thing. Really it was a vacant space of shelf with a pile of randomly assorted clearance items of all times. On the back of said shelf, like the golden idol at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.: A box of Sazon! I almost hit the floor, but grabbed it immediately, found my wife and yelled, “We’re having black beans and rice tonight, baby!” Well, I don’t remember if that’s exactly how it went, but in my mind….
Never fear my friends. If you don’t have a float plane to get the island where you can find the Sazon hiding in the back of a booby trap filled, skeleton riddled temple, you can make your own and honestly, no offense to the Sazon, really makes the dish taste better!
As for the construction of this dish, the recipe on the can has it pretty well nailed if you’re cool with canned beans. If not, you’re in for a little more work with dried beans. That’s not for me. Granted, the beans are great when started from dried, but I always try to stick with the most simple, straight to the point, ingredient focused recipes. I’ve tried the dressed-up versions with the hours of simmering and rendered salt pork, but they’re just not for me. Maybe on a long winter day with nothing else to do, I’ll throw on a pot of beans and have them simmer damn near all day, but this is spring and summer time. My family needs quick, tasty, healthy and filling meals that we can get on the table in less than an hour. (typically)
This is actually a pretty good deal on these black beans, although normally, I buy them by the 12 pack from Costco. Check it out here: Goya Canned Black Beans.
I sincerely hope you give this one a try. I think you’ll be really pleased with the end result. It’s full of a lot of different flavors that I was not expecting. It’s a regular in our household and I hope it becomes one in yours too. Give it a shot, and come back and let me know about it!
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- 2 cans black beans
- 1 cup onion, chopped small
- 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp of oregano
- 1 packet of Sazon w/out annato, or 1 tsp homemade Sazon (see above in post)
- olive oil
- 3 cups cooked white rice, or enough to serve each person
- In large saucepan, heat 3-5 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add onion and green peppers and saute for 5-8 minutes or until softened.
- Add garlic and cook another minute or until aromatic.
- Combine spices with onion mixture in the pan, and cook for another minute.
- Add in both cans of beans, juices included and the apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Once a boil is reached, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, but not too long so as to not absorb all of the broth.
- Serve with piping hot white rice and garnish with squeeze of lime and some minced cilantro.