Every time we travel south I go crazy for the rice and beans they serve. Whether it’s Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, or Mexico, rice and beans is a staple in their diet and it’s delicious. Without fail I declare my undying love for rice and beans on my trip and vow to learn how to make it like they do when I get home. Then I forget about it and start serving up potatoes again. Recently though, I came across a recipe in an old Bon Appetit from 2006 for rice and beans and decided to give it a try.
It’s now a staple in our house too. I’ve even started to buy the Costco size of rice — that’s how much we’re going through. I serve it with Jerk Chicken, in a taco salad, as a side for fish or meat and even cold for lunch.
Rice and Beans
3 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups long-grain white rice
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups water
1 19oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Sauté chopped bacon in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until bacon is brown and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add onion, red bell pepper; and garlic, sauté until onion is golden about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir until coated, about 1 minute. Stir in bay leaves, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and salt. Add 4 cups water and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand covered 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork. Remove bay leaves. Serves 8.
Pleasantville Note: Don’t feel tied to red kidney beans. Black beans or black-eyed peas would be delicious too!