Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Black Beans and Rice

As ugly and dreary as yesterday was, today was just glorious. Blue skies, autumn colors, and moderate temperatures meant my butt was grilling today!

What? No, I wasn't grilling a pork butt, you SMOKE a pork butt. I meant that my rear end would be outside cooking.

The black beans and rice were a side dish to a couple of ribeyes that I had introduced to my cajun beef rub.

Then said ribeyes made the acquaintance of a certain Big Green Egg who was running along at about 550f degrees.

TIP: It's important to let your steaks "rest" after cooking. I don't just let mine rest, I give them the day spa treatment. Drizzle some Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and fresh herbs on the plate on which they will be resting.

See? It makes them happy.

Ok, on to the Black Beans and Rice. The thing I like about our quickie version is that it bypasses hours of soaking dried beans, simmering them with ham hocks, etc but still results in a reasonable facsimile of real black beans and rice. One of the tricks is using bacon grease/pork fat to saute the veggies. This lets you get away with only about a 20 minute cooking time.

Chris' Quick Black Beans and Rice

1 can black beans rinsed
1/2 cup onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 ea Jalapeno peppers seeded, finely diced
1 tablespoon Pork fat (substitute butter if don't keep your bacon grease?)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
2 teaspoons Cilantro chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
2 cups rice cooked

Heat pork fat (bacon grease) in a saute pan. Once it comes to temp add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes.

As the onion starts to become soft and translucent, add the garlic and pepper (very finely diced & seeds removed). Saute for another 3 minutes.

Add the cumin, cilantro, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and black beans. Either add 1/4 cup of chicken broth or swirl 1/4 cup of water in the black bean can to get out the leftover "goodies" and add to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.

Serve the beans over a timbale of rice and garnish with bacon, cilantro, sour cream, or whatever sounds good.

Here's a trick I came up with during cooking tonight. One of those aha moments. It may have been done before but it was new to me.

TIP: The "reverse timbale". A timbale is just using a small bowl to shape a mound of rice, grits, mashed potatoes, or whatever. Instead of pouring my beans over a timbale, I thought WHAT IF...

I put an inverted sauce cup in the small bowl first...

Filled the small bowl with rice and inverted it onto a plate like a normal timbale...

Removed the bowl and cup to form a "tim-bowl"....

And filled it with the black beans!

I know that it's almost impossible to be truly original in cooking anymore. No matter what you come up with, someone else already did it. But dammit, I was proud of coming up with it on my own*. ***

*Interestingly enough, that's the same thing that Gottfriend Leibniz said to Sir Isaac Newton**.

**Yes, I realize that calculus jokes have no place in a food blog.

***And just in case that wasn't good enough, I've already thought through the "double reverse timbale". That's where I do a "reverse timbale into a deep bowl. Then, you put two different things on the inside and outside of the formed "timbowl". For example, you could make a rice timbowl, put cooked stir fry stuff on the outside and an brown sauce inside of it. Cool presentation and then the guests mix it all up.****

****Yes I like footnotes.