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American-Style Red Beans and Rice

(recipe, Rick Browne)

Introduction

As either a side dish or a whole meal, combine the creamy pink texture of pinto beans with a whole grain such as rice and you have a virtually fat-free, high-quality protein meal.

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 1½ tsp. minced garlic
  4. ½ medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  5. 1 medium ham hock
  6. 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  7. 2 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 2 tsp. dried thyme
  9. ½ tsp. Louisiana hot sauce
  10. 2 cups long-grain white rice
  11. 3 cups water

Steps

  1. Rinse the beans and pick out any stones or debris. Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover or, if preparing the same day, place them in a pot with water just to cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Continue soaking the beans in the cooking water for 1 hour.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, ham hock, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, and hot sauce to the soaked beans, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook over medium heat for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the ham hock, trim away the fatty skin, remove the meat from the bone, and discard the bone. Chop the meat into small pieces and return to the pot. Continue cooking for 1 hour. The liquid will have boiled down to a thick, brown sauce, and the beans should be soft but not mushy. Take off the heat and set aside.
  4. Place the rice and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Without uncovering, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 18 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes. Serve the beans over the rice.

Note

* Tip: Store dried beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place, where they will keep for up to 12 months. Cooked pinto beans will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days, if placed in a covered container