08 January 2011

I am always searching for the perfect beans, or perfect rice side dish to go with Mexican dishes.  This recipe from Fine Cooking combines the two in a very satisfying side dish.  I served it with my own adaptation of Benchiladas from Annie's Eats Blog.  I think they'd make a great one dish meal with the addition of some chorizo.  I used diced tomatoes with jalapeños and skipped the jalapeño.  Next time I'll probably add chopped jalepeno too, it could have had a little more spice.  I also substituted about 1 tablespoon of dried oregano for the fresh.

Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans
Serves 6-8

1 cup uncooked medium-grain white rice
1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes (preferably “petite-cut”)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium fresh jalapeño, cored and finely chopped (if you like spicy foods, leave in the ribs and seeds; if not, remove them)
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. kosher or fine sea salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves and tender stems
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

In a 1-quart saucepan, combine the rice with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 min. Remove from the heat and let the pan stand, covered, for another 5 min.
While the rice steams, set a fine sieve in a bowl and drain the can of tomatoes. Pour the tomato juices into a 1-cup liquid measure. Add enough water to the tomato juices to equal 1 cup.

Heat a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and stir-fry the garlic and jalapeño until the garlic browns and the jalapeño smells pungent, about 1 min. Add the black beans, salt, cumin, and chili powder; stir two to three times to incorporate the mixture and cook the spices, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato juice and water mixture and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans absorb much of the liquid, 5 to 7 min. Add the tomatoes, oregano, cilantro, and cooked rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is warm, 1 to 2 min. Serve immediately.

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