Yes, I’m still in Panama. Today we thought we were headed for the mountains. We were confused. It happens to us when we’re on vacation- well, actually it happens not on vacation too! I’m dreaming of Spanish food because on this island, we have Italian. We did have a fabulous risotto with artichokes a couple nights ago – still Italian. So let’s talk arroz con frijoles.
That’s right, rice and beans, but I used risotto rice. If you live in Texas and you don’t like rice and beans, you probably need to regroup. For the first 27 years of my life, I wouldn’t touch rice. Now I buy all different kinds, and look for ways to make it. Usually I eat short grain brown rice, but I also love the very short grain arborio rice that turns out to be creamy when cooked. I don’t love stirring it for 30-45 minutes to cook it on stovetop though, so I bake it occasionally (in the summer, I use the outside oven). If you’re not a rice lover and you’ve never tried short grain rice, it’s so much more flavorful compared to long grain. You may have to buy it in the bulk section of a large grocery store, or at a natural foods store.
Spanish Baked Risotto and Beans
For me, this is a pretty versatile dish. I eat it as a side, or for breakfast I put a fried egg on top. For a lunch or dinner, stuff the cooked rice in a bell pepper, top it with a little Parmesan and bake it.
- 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 TBSP capers
- 1 1/4 cup arborio or carnaroli rice (risotto rice)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne or ground chipotle powder
- 1/2 cup wine
- 4 1/2 cups liquid, combination of broth, picante, diced tomatoes, etc.
- 1 1/4 cups cooked black beans (or add more if you like)
- 1/2-1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, or something you like
- In a large pan like a dutch oven, heat oil on medium and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook and stir until the onions are translucent.
- Heat oven to 400.
- Stir in garlic and next 8 ingredients. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes. The rice should be well coated with oil.
- Stir in the wine. When it's almost evaporated, add the rest of the liquid. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the beans, cilantro, and cheese.
- Cover and bake about 45-60 min. or until rice is cooked. Stir well when you remove from the oven. It will be creamy.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.