Thursday, February 6, 2014

Black Beans And Rice With Chunky Avocado Salsa And Crispy Plantains

Once in a while a basic, staple recipe gets a little gussying up, a little freshening to make it something altogether new...a makeover per se. Beans and rice certainly qualify as one of those basics. 

Cuban beans and rice, Jamaican beans and rice, New Orleans beans and beans, red beans, pinto beans...white rice, black rice, brown rice...all the classic ingredients in almost infinite combinations still have the same culinary bones. There's a reason the combination is a favorite in so many cultures - actually, there are a couple of reasons. Beans and rice are easy to make, cost smart and a real comfort food. 

What makes today's recipe different from the tried and true versions? Beans and rice are rich with earthy flavors, deep, creamy and smooth. Why not brighten it up with cool cubes of avocado tossed with citrus-y fresh lime, spicy and crunchy jalapeno, colorful sweet cherry tomatoes and just a teensy bit of cilantro for an extra fresh kick to a chunky counterpoint salsa? And what the long as we're doing a makeover, might as well gild the lily with  a garnish of plantains fried crisp in coconut oil that really takes the redo over the top!

Presentation? A bowl of beautiful black beans, topped with a healthy scoop of brown rice, then a pile of sassy avocado salsa with a couple of crispy sweet and salty, coconut-y golden plantains for good measure. I'm guessing even Clinton and Stacey would approve of this makeover!

Black Beans and Rice 
With Chunky Avocado Salsa and Crispy Plantains

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 cup chicken stock - a good store bought one is just fine
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cooked rice (white, black, red, brown - or whatever cooked rice you have tucked in the back of your fridge) (confession....I used Trader Joe's frozen brown rice - so good, so easy!)

In a large pot, add 2 T. olive oil and heat. Add the chopped onions and green pepper. Saute until soft, add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the drained black beans and stir into veggies. Cook another 10 minutes to meld flavors.

Add chicken stock, vinegar, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, lower heat immediately. Cover and simmer about half an hour or until it’s not too runny, not too dry. If it’s too runny/soupy, let some of the liquid cook off; if it’s too dry, add more stock. Mash slightly with potato masher to thicken a little. Taste and adjust seasonings.

To serve: Ladle beans into individual bowls, top with a good scoop of  rice and crown with avocado salad and a sprinkling of cilantro. Serve with fried plantains.

Avocado Salad

  • 1 avocado, seeded and cut into ½” cubes
  • ½ cup quartered yellow grape tomatoes - I bought the heirloom kind with nearly all the colors of the rainbow!
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced or pressed 
  • 1/2 t. finely minced jalapeno
  • 3 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 T olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 T finely minced cilantro - or more if you really like cilantro...I do!

Mix lime juice, salt, oil and cilantro well. Set aside. Mix the avocado, tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno well. Pour dressing over, mix and serve.

Fried Plantains

  • 2 plantains, cut across into 1 ½” sections
  • canola oil

Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Saute plantain sections on each side until browned. Remove from skillet to paper towels. (You can do this earlier in the day.) 

When you’re ready to eat, heat oil in skillet again. Put in each precooked section and smash it down with a spatula to flat disks. Brown and turn over to brown on the other side. Remove to paper towels again and salt immediately. Serve.

Print this post

No comments: