Monday, June 28, 2010

Black Beans and rice

I really haven't intentionally been eating no meat dishes, but lately I have been more drawn to them.  I recently watched "Food Inc".  Have you seen this?  Basically it traces your food to where it actually came from.  Now, I've always been an advocate for real food, not processed.  And I always thought that when I bought all natural chicken, I was buying something good.  you know, just your basic chicken breasts, fresh or frozen, Tyson was a good name brand.  Well, the movie is a real eye opening experience.  You may not want to know, so I won't tell.  But it really was very interesting.  It's a documentary.  If you have netflix you can watch it instantly. For many years now I've bought my beef from a local connection.  So I know that it is good and has been grass fed, which is what cows were designed to eat.  Anyway... I have not become a vegetarian by any means, but I do feel alot safer eating food when I know where it came from.  So, on with the recipe.  This is quite filling for a meatless dish.  But again, you can always add meat.  :-)  I use dried beans mostly because I have a friend whose dad is a bean farmer.  I get all my beans from them.  Kidney beans, cranberry beans, navy beans, pinto beans, black beans... etc. 

2 cups dried black beans (or 4 standard size canned black beans) 
1/2 yellow onion
6 garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro
1 palmful cumin (about 1 tbs, or to taste)
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 c. whole grain brown rice
2 avacados
1 tomato
1 jar salsa
Sour cream
tortillla chips
flour tortillas

If you're using dried beans, you'll need to prepare them according to the pkg. instructions.  Since my dried beans are so fresh, I bring them to a boil and let them simmer for about 2 hours and they are ready.  The older the beans are the longer they take to soften.  So, if you get them from the grocery store, while they stay good forever, you just don't know how long they've been on the shelf.  Still, I think better than canned, just because the canned adds preservatives.  But either will taste great. 
Preheat the oven to 325
Heat black beans in a pot over medium-high heat, keeping a good amount of liquid.  Chop onion and cilantro, mince garlic and place all in a saucepan and saute'.  After the beans have heated for about 20 minutes, stir the sauteed ingredients into the black beans. Add cumin. In a separate pot, begin preparing brown rice.  I use a rice cooker, so just do whatever works best for you.
Pour black bean mixture into a 9x13 inch pan and add shredded cheese on top covering well.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Serve blac bean entree over teh brown rice, having a nice spread of chips, salsa, sour cream, extra cheese, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and tortillas for toppings/sides.

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