Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Best" Beans and Rice

As I’ve told you before, I have a terrible habit of throwing quick meals together without bothering to write down what I’m doing or taking pictures along the way. Sometimes that’s for the best. I get cranky when I’m hungry and can’t always be bothered with taking pictures, lest I become a crazy, hungry beast. And no, I am not pregnant. Just hungry.

Sometimes, however, my spur of the moment recipe creations are so drool-inducingly good that I kick myself for not taking the extra few minutes to capture what I was doing. For some reason, I seem to do this most often with last-minute pasta dinners and thrown-together-with-odds-and-ends weekend lunches. The latter was the case with this recipe, pulled together with random leftovers from the fridge and pantry staples. And man, oh man, was it good. So good I wished I had taken pictures along the way. Since I didn’t, I immediately typed up a post and the recipe before I could forget it. And then I forgot to make it again… for an entire year.

And let me tell you how stupid I feel about that. I could have (and would have) been eating this regularly for the past year. I don’t often repeat recipes, but I will be making an exception for this one all year long. I call this recipe “Best” Beans and Rice, not necessarily because it’s the best beans and rice I’ve ever had (though it is certainly up there), but rather because it’s the best version of beans and rice I’ve ever made. We always have canned beans and rice hanging out in the pantry, perfect for throwing together meals in a hurry. Over the years, I’ve tried many different variations to spice up those basic ingredients, and while they were always good, they were never really worth sharing with you. This time, however, I think I nailed the recipe on the head.

The combination of whole and ground cumin seeds adds smokiness and spice without heat. The diced green chilies add a slight kick of heat without overpowering the flavor of the other ingredients. Black and pinto beans add body and creaminess, while the rice sort of ties everything together. This dish makes for a savory, flavor-packed meatless entrée, side dish, or burrito filling. Plus it’s simple and inexpensive to make. In my book, it really is the “Best”.

One Year Ago: Sour Cream Loaf Cake

"Best" Beans and Rice

2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 oz. can diced mild green chilies
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups cooked rice *
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

* I like to use brown rice for this to make it even healthier.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the ground cumin, diced green chilies, salt, and black pepper, to taste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken broth, black beans, and pinto beans. Stir gently to combine and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice, again stirring gently to combine. (You don’t want to stir too hard or you will break up the beans.) Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until most of the broth is absorbed. Taste, and add additional salt or pepper if necessary.

Stir in the cilantro and serve.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as a side dish.


  1. This looks delicious! I love beans and rice. I think I''ll make this tonight as a side dish to accompany our tacos tonight. (it's Taco Tuesday, only it's Thursday).

  2. LC - Tacos are good any night! I think this will make a great side dish. Hope you like it!

  3. This was super simple and so yummy! I made it for supper tonight. I added some peppered bacon (cuz my man likes meat) and used scallions instead of onions (because I didn't want to go to the grocery store). I also used a combination of ground cumin and Lowry's seasoned salt. Oh- and I used dried cilantro (...avoiding the grocery store like the plague today). My husband approved of this meal. He agreed we should add it to our rotation of favorites. Thanks for the recipe!!

  4. Great dish! ...and pretty much a staple around this part of the country. Almost exactly as I prepare it, too, although I start by toasting the rice and cumin (or cominos) in the pan with just a tiny bit of olive oil, then add the onions, garlic, green chile, etc. It just does something magical to the cumin...Again, great dish!

  5. Mrs. C - I'm so glad you liked it! I completely understand the desire to not make a trip to the store. Your changes/additions sound delicious!

  6. Jerusha - Mmm, I love the idea of toasting the rice and cumin together!



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