A good friend living in Nicaragua (see footnote) asked if I could post a recipe or two that would work for her, given the lack of gourmet grocery stores in her part of the world. Having lived there myself, years ago, I knew gallo pinto, or rice and beans, was a staple, and she confirmed nothing had changed. So to help out – here is a great recipe to spice things up a bit!
This is best done with a crock pot / slow cooker; but you can also make this in a regular pot on the stove, cooking over low heat. You may need to stir at times to keep things from sticking and burning to the bottom of your pot.
Smokey Black Beans and Rice
Serves 8 – 10, depending on your serving size. I used one big ladle per serving.
4 Tablespoons of olive oil (you could use vegetable or peanut oil – whatever you have)
1 onion, chopped – any type will do. I used a Vidalia
1 red bell pepper, cored/seeded, and chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored/seeded, and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
8 cups cooked (and drained) black beans
1 cup uncooked white rice
3 Tablespoons smoked paprika
2 Tablespoons black pepper
(I didn’t use any salt – personal choice.)
5 cups liquid – I used 3 cups of unsalted vegetable stock and 2 cups of water.
Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion, bell peppers, carrot, and garlic for about 10 minutes. When the onions start to become translucent, you are ready to move on.
Put the black beans in the crock pot, stir in the sauteed vegetables.
Mix in the uncooked rice, smoked paprika, and black pepper.
Pour in the 5 cups of liquid. Gently stir into the mix. You want enough liquid to just cover the rice, beans, and vegetables.
Cover and simmer for 8 hours, or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
Pairs well with fried plantain slices dusted with a bit of sugar and cinnamon.
This is perfect in any climate – from the wonderfully warm temperatures of Nicaragua, to the frozen tundra I currently find myself inhabiting in Virginia.
* If you want to help children in need, and can spare a few dollars a month – please consider sending a donation to http://newsongnica.org/ Thanks!