Friday, September 21, 2012

Rice and Beans - Southwest Style (a.k.a. Spanish or Mexican rice) - Vegetarian also!

Rice and Beans are a classic combination across the world.  Cuban, Puerto Rican, Cajun, and many others.

But as far as I can tell, you can't get "spanish" rice in Spain, nor do you get (typically) rice and refried beans in Mexico (unless you are a restaurant catering to gringos)

Yet I love Rice and Refried Beans.  The only problem is most places the beans are boring (and seemingly straight out of a can) and the rice is a frighting dish too often prepared with tomato soup.  Blech.

However, I am also cognizant of time - how can I get dinner made while fitting it in with everything else that has to get done.  And finally you have the whole rice issue - it's basically like eating sugar pills - simple carbs that add nothing of value (although yes, I understand they make a complete protein when served with beans)

So here is my Rice and Beans recipe - Mexican style - fast, nutritious and delicious.  Just don't pretend this is how it is done in Mexico.  Or Spain.


Cooked Brown Rice (You do make extra when you make other dishes, right?  Otherwise this dish takes way to long to make), 8 ounces cooked.  Basically 2 ounces per serving - no more.
1/2 onion, white, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs Chicken Taco Seasoning (from Penzeys), in 1/4 cup water
Peas - 16 ounces.  Frozen works great.
1 fresh tomato, diced (or 2 Roma)
1 Can, Vegetarian Refried Beans
1 tbs Rojo Taco Seasoning (Penzeys again).  Or cumin and cilantro if you don't like heat
Cooking Spray or oil

Obviously you will have to adjust based on how many you are serving - the above is for 4 people.  You want at least 2 ounces of peas to 1 ounce of rice.


Rice -

If using frozen peas, microwave about 1/2 the time on the package (your thawing them, not cooking at this time)
Heat non stick frying pan, spray with cooking spray or 1 tbs oil
Add onions - cook till just starting to brown
Add garlic, cook 2 minutes
Add rice and peas
Add Chicken Taco Seasoning that has been rehydrated as above
Cook 5 minutes.
Mix in diced tomato (your heating, not cooking the tomato)
If you turn off the heat but leave it in the pan it will hold for at least 5 minutes till your ready to serve.  Just cover with a clean dish towel

Beans -

Place beans in pan on stove, add 1/4 cup water and seasoning (either the Rojo or the cumin/cilantro).  Mix well
Heat for 5 minutes at medium heat.  Add 1/4 water (or broth) as needed to thin - the beans should be thin (think thick pancake batter), not watery or soupy

Serve next to each other, not mixed.  These are often served as a side dish, but there is no reason you could not serve this with a fresh salad dressed with guacamole and sour cream and it would be a great meal.  Or feel free to serve with carnitas or tinga or grilled chicken

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