When we’re poor, I always make rice and beans. They’re OK at room temperature, so we can take them with us to work and school, and they cost me next to nothing. I’ve become a rice and beans pro and, if I do say so myself, my version is pretty good. Purists, take heed: I use canned beans and throw random vegetables into the mix. It serves four.
– 1 can of black beans
– 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
– 1 onion (red, yellow, or white is fine)
– 1-2 cloves garlic
– 1/2 green pepper and/or 1/2 cup of frozen peas, defrosted briefly with some hot water (optional– you can substitute any vegetables you like, or skip these entirely)
– a tbsp (approx.) of olive oil (or whatever cooking oil you have)
– Approx. 2 tbsp. Goya Adobo seasoning with cumin (or like 5-6 big shakes) OR a mix of turmeric, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper– This measurement is approximate, I really just add a ton of it and taste. I find it impossible to add too much.
– Approx. 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (or about 3-4 shakes, I use cinnamon that comes in a grinder bottle, so it tastes fresher– do use this sparingly, or it becomes a bit overpowering, but a bit adds a nice richness)
– Salt and pepper
– 4 servings of white rice, cooked according to package instructions
– Cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, salsa, and/or avocado, for serving (optional)
1. Heat olive oil over low heat while dicing an onion and mincing garlic clove. Add them to the oil and turn the heat up to medium or medium-high. Add a pinch of salt to help them sweat. Cook these until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the other vegetable(s) if using and cook until they become slightly tender, about 2 minutes.
2. Drain your can of beans and add to the pan. Add 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), all the dried spices, and a shake or two of black pepper. Stir this mixture and bring it to a boil.
3. Lower the heat to a simmer (so it’s barely bubbling) and cook for awhile. This step depends on how hungry you are. Ideally, you’ll let this hang out for 20-30 minutes, but it tastes fine after about 10. Taste it at the end and if it doesn’t seem flavorful enough, shake in some more Adobo seasoning. Remember that the rice is super absorbent, so you can season the hell out of your beans.
4. Turn off the heat and spoon the rice into the bean mixture. Stir until all the rice gets coated, it should turn slightly grayish (which sounds unappetizing, but it isn’t).
5. You can either store this in some tupperware– it’s good at room temperature and it reheats well– or serve immediately, topped with cheese, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, and/or avocado.
Lemme know if you make this or if you make a similar dish and have any suggestions or additions! I’m sure this dish is even better with fresh herbs and dried beans, but it’s quick and cheap– costs like $3 for four servings.