“What’s for dinner?” my husband asks every night.
It’s not that he is incapable of cooking dinner, it’s just that no one would probably want to eat it. What Jake does do well is order a might fine pizza and brew a strong pot of coffee. I can live with that.
For the past couple nights, my reply has been “beans and rice.” Jake wasn’t sure he liked beans and rice asked if we could order a pizza. On this evening, I put my foot down. We were going to eat rice and beans.
Beans and rice is simple and it’s nutritious. It’s also inexpensive and they were already in my pantry. One of my weaknesses is not thinking ahead and planning weekly menus which makes it too easy to return to the grocery store and make impulse purchases. This was a good opportunity to play Chopped with the back of my own pantry.
In this pot of beans, I added everything but the kitchen sink and, somehow, it all worked.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Beans & Rice
A Cook’s Notes: I cook by the seat of my pants, so consider this recipe general guidelines. Incorporate any flavors you like and use whatever is already in your kitchen.
I like blanching green such as kale, chard, and turnip greens because I think it improves their flavor and preserves their green color. However, this isn’t necessary. I don’t usually blanch collard greens and would throw fresh spinach directly into the pot since it wilts so quickly.
I enjoyed this meal so much that I almost forgot to take a photo, remembering mid-bite.
3-5 strips of bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 bunch of turnip greens, blanched (could use kale, chard, collards, etc.)
1 small onion, diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 small can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of hot madras curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I like it hot)
1-2 glugs of whatever beer you are drinking (I used Grain Belt Premium)
1 cup + of stock
Soy sauce, to taste
Drizzle of maple syrup or honey
Render the bacon until it’s crispy. Scoop out the pieces out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Save your bacon fat in the fridge to use later, leaving a little in the pan to cook the onions.
Saute the onions in the bacon fat until slightly browned. Add the garlic and saute briefly.
Add the curry powder, cayenne, salt and black pepper and saute until they smell fragrant.
Add the tomato paste and cook until it turns a rusty color.
De-glaze the pan with a splash of beer, scraping up the crusty residue on the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and stir.
Add the beans and greens. If the sauce is too thick, add more water, stock, or beer.
Season with soy sauce and a small drizzle of maple syrup for balance. Return the bacon to the pot.
Simmer so the flavors can meld and serve with steamed rice.
To blanch greens:
Heat a pot of water to boiling.
While you wait for the water to boil, wash the greens and remove the woody stems. You can save the stems for stock or chop them into tiny pieces and blanch them with the rest of the leaves. When the water boils, drop the greens in the water for a minute.
Remove the greens place directly into a bowl of ice water until completely cooled.
Remove the greens from the ice water, squeeze, and chop into bite-sized pieces.