Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nacho-topped Beans and Rice

So I think I've mentioned, maybe once or twice, that we have been subscribing as of late to the Full Circle box organic produce program. The boxes are delivered to our pickup spot on Thursday afternoons, which means my husband has the chore of picking up the box and getting the contents to the fridge. Which he is very good at.

Where our skills are lacking, however, is in communication. I usually do the meal planning, and he usually forgets what came in the box that week. So Monday I opened the fridge to see what's left of the prior week's box and found tons and tons of goodies I didn't know were there. 

So this week became a sort of fridge clean-out week. The key, I believe, to not wasting food, is to have a decent selection of cookbooks on hand, or a working knowledge of where to find recipes on-line. Since we were dealing with veggies, my go-to vegetarian cookbook is the New Moosewood Cookbook. Mollie Katzen has written and entire library of veggie-based cookbooks and I really encourage you to check them out, if you haven't already (our local library has a huge selection of her titles). She makes healthy, veggie-laden food taste like, well, delicious comfort food. And with her help, you can do it, too.

This recipe, served over canned refried beans and steamed rice (if you have leftover pinto beans, even better), is pretty easy and the taste is very deceptive--I am not a bell pepper fan and I seriously destroyed a plate of this. The sauce tastes a bit like the old Rotel-Velveeta dip, but the flavor is much more complex. If you want some meat in the dish, I think a half pound of browned ground beef would be pretty tasty mixed in as well. You could also use the nacho topping as a dip for a Super Bowl party. Like I kind of mentioned earlier, it's adapted from a Moosewood recipe.

Nacho-topped Beans and Rice

2 T. olive oil
1 small-medium onion, diced
salt and pepper
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. coriander
1/4 t. cayenne
2 large bell peppers, diced (I used one red and one green)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped (you can sub a can of diced tomatoes too)
2 T. flour
8 oz beer (I used a Corona but you can use whatever you have on hand, and flat beer is fine, too)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. sugar
2 c. grated cheddar

steamed rice
2 cans refried beans (I like to mix about 1/2 c. of salsa with the beans), warmed

crushed tortilla chips for garnish*

Heat the oil on medium in a large pan. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Saute until the onion is translucent. While it cooks, chop your peppers and tomatoes. When the onions are translucent, add the peppers and tomatoes, along with the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and some fresh ground black pepper. Cover and cook over medium for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Start the rice in the rice cooker. Open the beans and put them on the stove over low (or in a microwave-safe bowl), and mix in the salsa if you are using it.

When your peppers are soft, whisk in the flour, dissolving all lumps. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the beer, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste the mixture, add salt if necessary. Add the sugar. Whisk in the cheese and stir until it's melted and incorporated. Serve hot over rice and beans. Garnish with some crushed tortilla chips if desired.


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