Friday, February 27

Beans and Rice; Rice and Beans

There is some great recipes with beans, and there are some easy ways to make them. The number one necessity with beans is a pressure cooker. My mother-in-law got me one for Christmas a little while ago, and it has been a wonderful gift. So when someone asks what you want for a gift here is a great idea; however, if you have a smooth-top cook-top it is not a good idea.

This is the one I was given. Don't let your husband wash the lid (or the pot) in the dishwasher. If you do it will look like mine. ;)

Beans can be soaked overnight or, if your like me I never remember, they can be boiled for one or two minutes and covered to soak for an hour. It saves me every time. Make sure with either one you cover the beans with a lot of water. I believe it is 3 cups water to 1 cup dried beans. I usually do this with 2 cups of dried beans and they really soak it up.

I make my Pinto beans with my mother-in-laws recipe. After they have soaked, rinse them and place them in, or back in, your pressure cooker and barely cover them with water. I then add:

1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dried onion
1 or 2 cloves garlic (you can add more I just don't like to be a walking garlic plant)

Then I bring the beans to a boil, put on the pressure cooker lid with the weight on it and wait for the pot to start whistling. It doesn't take long. When it whistles you turn your burner down to low or med-low (depends on your stove top), just so the weight on the top of the lid shakes a little or whistles a little. Leave the beans cooking for about 25 - 30 minutes and they are done.

This is so much faster than the all day affair. You can serve them as is, or you can mash them with a little bit of butter for a tasty refried option. (Make sure you drain off some of the water if you are mashing them)

I love my beans with rice. The Spanish rice recipe I like to make is:

2 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I use the bullion cubes to make it)
1 Tbsp dried onion
1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes

If you melt the butter over medium heat and put the rice in the butter with the chopped up garlic to fry it gives it a nice toasted flavor. I fry the rice until it starts to turn a tan color and smell toasted. Then I add the broth, onion, parsley and tomatoes. I bring it to a boil, cover it and reduce it to low heat for 25 minutes.

Any of the leftovers can be used in making burritos the next day. Oh and as an added thought, if you make Lemonade with it; the acid will help reduce the amount of gas you get. Orange juice works too.

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