Sunday, October 23, 2011

"All Red" Rice and Beans

Red Bull, red carpet, red light, redheads: all things we are attracted to because of their vibrant common color, right?  Some believe our eyes are physically drawn to this color.  Just think of all the companies that incorporate red into their marketing schemes.  There’s always a reason…
 During my last grocery shopping trip, I guess was seeing red.  Out of the paper shopping bags, I pulled a can of tomatoes, a red onion, a red pepper, and a can of red beans.  They say you need to strike a color balance on the dinner plate.  I failed that test– you caught me red handed.  So I called malarkey on this rule for the day and created a tasty, but completely red, dish.  It was a hybrid of Spanish rice with beans and goat cheese for a more filling, warm and creamy meal.  I love the familiar flavors of chili powder, cumin, and sautéed garlic and onions, and the red bell pepper adds a varied texture.  And goat cheese…what is it not good in? For those of us looking for a quick, filling, and cheap meal, this fits the bill well.  There is lots of room for experimentation, as well.   Almost nothing is irreplaceable in this recipe, so don’t sweat it if you’re short a couple ingredients or want to substitute in others.  Follow your stomach!   

“All Red” Rice and Beans
1 cup long grain Basmati rice
2 cups tomato juice (like V8)
1 chicken bouillon cube
½ cup diced canned tomatoes, drained
1 cup water (add incrementally as needed while rice cooks)
5 T olive oil, divided (3 T/ 2 T)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ cup red onion, finely diced
½ cup red pepper, chopped
1 (15oz) can red kidney beans
1 t salt
Chili powder
Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
Cilantro, garnish

1.       In a large pot, combine rice, tomato juice, bouillon cube, tomatoes, and 3 T olive oil.  Place over high heat until comes to a boil.
2.       Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
3.       Meanwhile, in a small non-stick pan, add 2 T olive oil, and place over medium heat. 
4.       Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook for 1 min.  Add onions and peppers, cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until onions have become translucent and peppers are soft.
5.       Add onion and pepper mixture, beans, and seasoning to rice about 5 minutes before rice is finished cooking. 
6.       Once rice is done, add goat cheese and gently stir to incorporate.  Garnish with cilantro for a pop of color.

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