You really cannot mess with a classic, but I did, kind of. I had a can of organic kidney beans sitting in the pantry, and I thought today might be a good day to use them. After some research on the internet, I decided to make a yummy Latin American classic–beans and rice. So simple, so delicious. However, I wanted to modify it just slightly, but using brown rice as opposed to white (which most of the recipes were calling for), substituting a fresh diced tomato for the tomato paste suggested by a few recipes, and adding ridiculous amounts of cumin. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the results…authentic, maybe not, be delicious!
1 cup of chopped onion
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
cumin, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 ripe tomato, diced with juiced reserved
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 cup of brown rice
1 can of kidney beans, liquid reserved
1. In a medium sized pot, heat up a little oil. Add the onions, green pepper, garlic, cayenne, and cumin. Cook over medium high heat until the onions are transparent.
2. Add the tomato and salt. Mix well.
3. Add the beans and rice, mix well. Add the liquid from the beans and water (totaling about 2.5 cups together). Turn heat to low and simmer with the lid on for 45-50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the majority of the liquid is absorbed.
This turned out pretty phenomenal…the cumin gave it heat without being overwhelming, and I liked the texture of the brown rice. I was a bit worried, because brown rice can be quite a bear to cook just right, especially when I am not following the cooking brown rice in water method. However, I got it just where I wanted–not too mushy. I ended up allowing the pot to sit off heat for about 10 minutes, and I think that really allowed the rice to finish up nicely.
I wanted to use a fresh tomato partly because I did not have tomato paste, but also because I wanted to use the freshest ingredients possible…and keep for adding unnecessary salt. Thinking about it, I am not sure how much salt is in tomato paste, but I’d assume it would be added to prepare for the canning process. I think the fresh tomato worked out nicely. I could taste a little tomato, and it added to the overall texture of the meal.
organic onion ~ $.35
organic green pepper ~$.80
organic tomato ~ $.50
organic brown rice ~ $.50
organic kidney beans $1.19
Total ~$3.34 (and totally organic!)