Black Beans and Coconut Rice, a flavour and colour contrast that knows no boundaries.
With their multi-ethnic background, black beans are a versatile legume. They are right at home in Caribbean cooking, in Mexican dishes, in Latin American soups, and in Spanish tapas. Known also as turtle beans, they originated in southern Mexico and Central America. The first time I ever had them was when my Honduran brother-in-law made them for us when we lived in Austin. He insisted on adding a boiled egg to the pot. I think it was a Mayan fertility ritual or something.
This recipe is more Caribbean in influence. The coconut milk brings out the sweetness in the mild black beans. I used canned, but dried cooked beans can be used as well, if you've got a few hours to spare. The yellow rice is a perfect backdrop for the darker hued beans. All it needs is a nice salad, maybe with some papaya or mango slices, to go alongside.
Black Beans and Coconut Rice
1 1/2 cup rice
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander), optional
Add first 5 ingredients and 2 cups water to a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting and cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is dry.
Toss with fresh cilantro if you have it.
2 tablespoons olive oil, or other light-tasting oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (or less, to taste)
3 cups black beans, cooked (about 2 cans)
1/2 cup coconut milk
juice of one lime, plus another lime, cut in wedges
Chopped cilantro, optional, for garnish
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, and chipotle powder and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Add beans and coconut milk and continue to simmer over medium heat. Add salt to taste, and lime juice. Serve over rice with extra lime wedges and cilantro for garnish.