Beans and Rice

Look no further for a tasty, inexpensive, nutritious, easy-to-make meal than Beans and Rice.

beans and riceSo — does this qualify as a recipe?  Sort of.  Think of it as an outline for the ultimate frugal meal – a delicious time-tested combo of creamy pinto beans with nutty brown rice, with a few toppings for flavor and color.  There are few foods as nutrition-packed as beans, and they are really inexpensive.  Beans and Rice is dedicated to my son, who is cooking for himself with a limited budget and doing a great job.

Beans and Rice
(note: beans take a couple hours to simmer.  Can easily be made a day or two in advance)

dried pinto beans
short grain brown rice
Optional Toppings: sour cream, fresh tomato, avocado, chipotle powder, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, cheese, corn kernels, sauteed summer squash

Pinto beans are a forgiving bean to cook.  I have found that presoaking these beans is not necessary.  Place the rinsed dried pinto beans in a pot, and cover with water by at least 1 inch.  The idea is to always have water covering the beans, knowing that these are dry beans and will double in volume as they absorb the water.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on very low for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Check them after an hour to be sure there is still water covering them.  Add more if needed.   At least 10 minutes before serving, add some salt to taste.  How much salt?  It really depends on how much beans and water you have.  As a bench mark, add 1/2 to 1 tsp salt for every quart of water used.   Remember that you can always add more salt, but you can’t take it out.

Prepare your rice according to directions for the variety you use.  Because I have access to good, local short grain brown rice, this is my preferred variety.  Combine 2 cups brown rice with 3 cups water in pan.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for about 35 minutes.

Serve rice and beans side by side in a bowl.  Top with whatever fresh toppings you choose and enjoy!

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