Monday, January 4, 2016

Coconut Rice with Black Beans

 Here's a quick dish that is as hearty to eat as it is easy to make. Yes, I know rice can be a little boring sometimes, but stay with me! You're gonna love this one! It's amazing how adding a few simple ingredients can turn plain white rice into a fan favorite!!
 I made this for one of my themed dinners (this was for Mexican night, of course) and it was a big hit! But why wait until Mexican night? Go ahead and serve it as a delicious side dish anytime! It goes great with chicken, beef, or pork, and the beans make it so hearty that it can stand alone as a meatless main dish. Serve it with a nice salad and you're good to go! Enjoy!

2 tbs oil (or butter)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked rice (I like Jasmine rice)
1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

 Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, and cook until it has softened and turned translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated with the oil. Pour in the coconut milk and stock; season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Stir in the black beans, and cook a few minutes until hot. 

The first time I made this, I was surprised at how buttery it turned out, rather than coconutty. I really wanted it to have a more pronounced coconut flavor. So, I tried using all coconut milk instead of doing half coconut milk and half chicken stock. I was figuring more coconut milk equals more coconut flavor, right? Well, yes, but it turned out to be FAR too oily. Ah well, live and learn. So, even if you don't use stock, you still need to cut the coconut milk with something, even if it's just plain water. I suppose if you'd like it to be more coconutty, you could add a few drops of coconut extract.

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