Category: Rice

Black Bean Rice and Vegetable Casserole

Back to School Dinner #4

When Claire was preschool age, we frequented a wonderful Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood, El Mirador, with very authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine. Claire, the ever-picky eater, was happy ordering rice with cheese and the refried beans. Since the combination of the rice and beans is a complementary protein mix that offers all amino acids, it was a plus in my mind as she mostly ate cereal and pasta with butter! This recipe for Black Bean Rice and Vegetable Casserole is sure to please her more sophisticated palette today.

This is a simple recipe and it’s filled with fresh vegetables: scallions, tomatoes, zucchini, corn and frying peppers. I chose to use oregano and Spanish smoked paprika  as the primary spices. Include this in your meatless Monday repertoire if you have one, or start a new weekly trend!

A wide skillet (12- by 2 inches) is the perfect size and can go from stovetop to table, saving you an extra dish to wash.

The first thing to do is set up your rice, which can cook while you prep the other ingredients. I use this easy pasta method to cook the rice, a short-grain sweet brown rice.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, corn, zucchini, scallions, peppers, salt and pepper, stir to combine, cover and let cook for five minutes.

Back to School Dinner #4

Stir in the garlic, oregano, paprika, coriander and cumin for 30 seconds.

Back to School Dinner #4

Turn on the broiler.

Fold in the beans and rice and cook  until the beans are heated through, about two minutes.

Back to School Dinner #4

Top with cheese and slip under the broiler on a low shelf until melted, about one or two minutes. Garnish with pickled jalapeno peppers.

Back to School Dinner #4

This recipe can be made a day ahead omitting the cheese. Cool the skillet, cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, cover with the shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with the pickled jalapenos and serve. Use any leftovers for black bean tacos!

The recipe works well without the cheese for a vegan entreé.
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Black Bean Rice and Vegetable Casserole

Back to School Dinner #4

Black Beans Rice and Vegetables is a vegetarian entreé topped with shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and pickled jalapeños. Omit the cheese for a vegan entreé. Garnish with the pickled jalapenos and serve.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 50 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup rice, either brown or white
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomato halves
  • 3 ears of corn kernels only or 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 bunches thinly sliced scallions including green tops
  • 3 chopped frying peppers, any color
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) black beans rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Garnish
  • pickled jalapeno slices, mild or hot

Instructions

  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice, return to the a gentle boil and cook according to the suggested timing on the package .
  2. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, corn, zucchini, scallions, peppers, salt and pepper, stir to combine, cover and let cook for five minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, oregano, paprika, coriander and cumin for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn on the broiler.
  5. Fold in the beans and rice and cook until the beans are heated through, about two minutes. Top with cheese and slip under the broiler on a low shelf until melted, about one or two minutes.
  6. Garnish with pickled jalapeno peppers.

Notes

Use any leftovers for black bean tacos!

 

Cook Rice Using the Absorbed Method

To cook rice using the absorbed method uses uses a specific ratio of liquid to rice and requires a heavy-bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid. The heavy bottom distributes the heat evenly and prevents a scorched bottom and burned rice. The tight-fitting lid keeps in the steam, essential to infusing the rice with moisture and gelatinizing the starch.

Ratios
  • Most white rice varieties cook perfectly with a ratio of two cups liquid to one cup rice.
  • Basmati rice needs one and three-quarter cups liquid to one cup of rice.
  • Brown rice uses two and one-half cups liquid to one cup rice.

Rice expands to about three times its original size and one cup raw rice makes three cups cooked rice, so select a pan according to the size of the cooked rice.

To use the absorbed method to cook rice, bring the cooking liquid (water or stock) and a pinch of kosher salt to a boil, stir in the rice, return to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, without peeking, for the specified time on the package. Because steam is a part of the cooking process, it’s important not to remove the cover until the rice is almost done, check at the minimum cooking time, about 5 minutes before it’s done. Continue cooking a few more minutes if there’s still liquid in the bottom of the pan.

To add flavor to rice cooked with the absorbed method, sauté aromatics in a little oil or butter, add herbs and/or spices and then follow the recipe.

The rice I used for this post is Carolina brown rice, a long-grain rice, which was served with lemon chicken. I made plain rice covered in the flavorful sauce from the chicken.

Lemon Chicken with Brown Rice and Spinach

Lemon Chicken with Brown Rice and Spinach

Bring water and salt to a boil.

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Measure the rice.

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Stir in the rice.

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Return to the boil.

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Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook according to package instructions.

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How To: Cook Rice – Absorbed Method

Steam is an important part of the cooking process, it’s important not to remove the cover until the rice is almost done. Check the rice at the minimum cooking time. Continue cooking a few more minutes if there is still liquid in the bottom of the pan.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups
  • Category: Rice
  • Method: Absorbed Method

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups cooking liquid
  • pinch Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Bring water and salt to a boil.
  2. Stir in the rice.
  3. Return to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook according to package instructions.

Multi-grain Rice Pilaf

Whole Foods sells a wonderful wild blend rice mixture in the bulk food aisle that consists of long-grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice bits, Wehani brown rice and black Japonica brown rice, which make a most interesting Rice Pilaf.

The different types of rice give this rice pilaf complex and nutty flavors and a range of textures, from al dente to soft. If you prefer to use only one type of rice or can’t find a multi-grain blend, substitute a long-grain rice.

Rice pilaf starts on the stovetop and finishes in the oven. The aromatics are sautéed first and then the rice is added and browned in the oil for a few of minutes until fragrant. Finally stir in a flavorful liquid and bring to a boil. Pop this into the oven and bake, until the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes; don’t uncover before then or you release the steam needed to cook the rice.

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Heat the oil in a medium-sized covered, ovenproof pan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and salt, cover and sweat for five minutes, stirring once.

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Stir in the garlic and herbes de Provence and continue cooking 30 seconds.

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Add the rice, stir to combine, and continue cooking and stirring until fragrant, about two minutes.

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Add cooking liquid and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

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Cover and bake until the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes; don’t uncover before then or you release the steam needed to cook the rice. Stir and let sit five minutes in the oven, heat off.

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Multi-grain Rice Pilaf

Whole Foods sells a wonderful wild blend rice mixture in the bulk food aisle that consists of long-grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice bits, Wehani brown rice and black Japonica brown rice, which make a most interesting Rice Pilaf.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 65 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1 cup multi-grain rice
  • 2 cups water or stock

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized covered, ovenproof pan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and salt, cover and sweat for five minutes, stirring once.
  3. Stir in the garlic and herbes de Provence and continue cooking 30 seconds. Add the rice, stir to combine, and continue cooking and stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add cooking liquid and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cover and bake until the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes; don’t uncover before then or you release the steam needed to cook the rice.
  6. Stir and let sit five minutes in the oven, heat off.

Notes

If you prefer to use only one type of rice or can’t find a multi-grain blend, substitute a long-grain rice.

 

 

Cooking Rice Using the Pasta Method

 

Cooking rice using the pasta method is a fool-proof way to cook rice and you don’t need to worry about scorching or burning it or the pan. It’s an effective method to use when a recipe calls for cooked rice.

Almost any rice variety can be cooked using this method; I’m using basmati rice today, which will go into a soup.

Be sure to stir frequently the first minute or two after adding the rice to the boiling water to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cooking time can vary depending on the final use. If the cooked rice is cooked further in another recipe, opt for a shorter cooking time by two or three minutes.

This recipe yields 3 cups of cooked rice

6 cups cold water
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 cup rice

Raw basmati rice.

Raw basmati rice.

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium-size saucepan, stir in the rice and cook for the time listed on the package. Drain.

Cooking rice with the pasta method.

Cooking rice with the pasta method.

 

 

How To: Cook Rice – Pasta Method
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3 cups
Be sure to stir frequently the first minute or two after adding the rice to the boiling water to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cooking time can vary depending on the final use. If the rice will be cooked again in another recipe, opt for a shorter cooking time by two or three minutes. 6 cups cold water 2 teaspoons Kosher salt 1 cup rice Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium-size saucepan, stir in the rice and cook for the time listed on the package. Drain.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 cup rice
Instructions
  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium-size saucepan, stir in the rice and cook for the time listed on the package. Drain.

Rice Primer

Everyone is familiar with rice, but we are seeing more and more brown and multi-grain varieties on grocery shelves these days and it’s understandable if you’re confused about what they are and how to cook them. We’ve put together a rice primer to answer some of your questions.

Rice Primer

There are three varieties of rice: short grain, medium grain and long grain. Each has unique properties that result in a degree of stickiness (short- and medium-grain rice) to fluffy separate grains (long-grain rice). Use aromatics, spices, herbs and flavorful cooking liquids to make rice. Combine with meat, fish, poultry and/or vegetables to make a one-dish meal. Cook rice with milk, eggs, sugar and flavorings to make a delicious rice pudding. The possibilities are endless.

Brown vs. White Rice

Brown rice retains the bran, full of fiber, vitamins and minerals and the germ. Brown rice contains some fat, which makes it more perishable than white rice. Always store in an air-tight container in a cool dry place. Not all brown rice is brown, however, there are purple, black and red varieties, all equally delicious.

White rice is washed to remove the bran and most of the germ and then polished, which removes vitamins and minerals; it is then fortified to replace those lost nutrients. Some recipes call for washing rice before cooking, but in general white rice shouldn’t be rinsed because it removes the restored nutrients. Parboiled rice has been processed to gelatinize the starch in each grain. Converted rice is further cooked for “instant-cooking” rice and has the least amount of flavor.

Brown rice is an excellent overall choice because it is a whole grain and has a complex flavor and texture.

Wild rice is a misnomer. It is a long-grain marsh grass with a nutty flavor and contrasting textures, firm outside and soft inside when cooked. It’s often included in rice blends.

Rice Varieties

There are thousands of varieties of rice within each of the grain types and the ones referenced here are commonly available, but barely scratch the surface.

Short-grain rice, also known as sticky rice, sweet rice or waxy rice, is twice as long as it is wide and glutinous. Uses include sushi, paella, puddings and rice molds. Look for Calasparra rice, Japonica rice or Chinese sweet rice.

Calasparra short-grain rice.

Calasparra short-grain rice.

Medium-grain rice is also a sticky rice, though slightly less sticky than short-grain rice and is a little less than three times as long as it is wide. Use in paella, risotto or substitute for any short-grain recipe. Look for Valencia or granza for paella, arborio, or carnaroli for risotto, Thai sticky rice or Chinese black rice.

Arborio rice.

Arborio rice.

Long-grain rice cooks up fluffy and separate and is at least three times as long as it is wide. Use in main-course dishes. Look for basmati, jasmine or Texmati®, these all have a characteristic popcorn-like aroma and taste, Carolina or Wehani® a honey-red rice or Himalayan red rice both with a nutty flavor.

Carolina long-grain brown rice.

Carolina long-grain brown rice.

Use moist-heat cooking methods to cook rice: boiling, simmering, steaming, or baking.

Here are links to posts with information on cooking various rices.

Cook Rice Using the Absorbed Method

Multi-Grain Rice Pilaf

Cooking Rice Using the Pasta Method