Friday, June 25, 2010

greenwood black beans and rice

We went to the Boordy Vineyard last week for an evening picnic. Several people asked for my black bean and rice recipe, so I thought I'd post what I recall of that batch, here. No two batches are ever alike, you see! For one, our friend Jess doesn't like mushrooms(?!), and because we love Jess, I made this batch without them. (Normally, sliced mushrooms would go in with the onions and ground meat.) Still, this batch was particularly good. . . .

1 lb ground pork
olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion chopped fine
1 or 2 cans of black beans
- (I used one jumbo can – not sure if that’s 2 cans or not)
3 or 4 carrots chopped fine
- (primarily for colour so measure accordingly)
Knorr’s beef bouillon cubes
- (enough for 6 cups of water – so 3 large cubes)
3 cups rice
- (I used 1.5 cups “Royal Blend” wild rice blend and 1.5 cups basmati rice)
red pepper flakes (to taste - don't be shy!)
whatever other herbs tickle your fancy
– I used [probably – who remembers?!] celery seed, cumin, rosemary and savory – and chopped parsley to mix with the onion to add later as a garnish, on top)

In a large heavy pot (suitable also for cooking rice – so with a good, tight lid), pour in olive oil, add half of the chopped onion (the rest will be reserved for garnish) and cook over medium heat. Add in the ground pork and brown and cook. When the onions have softened a bit and the pork is browned and crumbled, add in the bouillon cubes, and mash them to mix with the olive oil, onion and meat. They mash easily, as they are heated.

Stir in the rice, and stir to coat. Keep the heat at medium to medium high, and drain the bean juice into a measuring cup, counting it toward the 6 cups of water you will need to add to the rice. Pour in the bean juice and then add the balance of 6 cups in water, stirring it all up, to make sure the beef bouillon is mixed through. Add maybe a half cup of the beans (you’ll add the rest when the rice is cooked). Add your carrots, herbs and red pepper flakes and turn up the heat, stirring often so the rice doesn’t scorch, until the mixture comes to a boil. You want to get it to a boil as quickly as possible.

As soon as it comes to a boil, turn down the heat – for me, I turn it down as low as my medium gas burner will go – cover with tight lid, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t lift the lid or do anything to it for that 20 minutes – this is a bit of a faith element, as you have to trust the heat is neither too low (it won’t cook) or too high (it will scorch. . . .) . Pretty much cook the rice the way you usually cook normal rice, though, and you should be ok.

After 20 minutes, take pot off heat and let it sit – still covered – for another 5 to 10 minutes. No peeking!

Now for the moment of truth: lift the lid, and fluff the rice with a big fork. [and hope it’s neither undercooked or overcooked!] Stir in the black beans, and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve with sour cream and the chopped onion/parsley mixture (into which I also pour a bit of good olive oil).

Sorry, no pictures of either the dish or our outing. It was a beautiful setting. . . . Fireflies among the trees.

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