When I was in college, one of my roommates used to make the most amazing rice and beans dish (she also made some mean quesadillas that I still make today and people just go nuts over them). Although I’ve always liked rice and beans as a side, I’d never had them the way she prepared them and they quickly became a favorite. I asked her to make them for me on a weekly basis and being the good friend she was, she would gladly make us up a batch. White rice, black beans, butter, a little onion and lots of spicy red pepper or jalapeno and the dish was done. I have no idea why that combination works so well, but it does!
Needless to say, this dish changed the way I think of “rice and beans”. I used to think of them as mainly a side, but now, I realize, there is so much more you can do with them. Now, black beans, actually any kind of beans, are a staple in my pantry (rice always was. I grew up in Thailand, the rice capital of the world, remember). I throw them into plenty of dishes for extra fiber and protein.
This dish is a twist on what my friend made for me in college. The basis of the dish is the same, the main difference is I make it into more of a “fried rice” version and I add some southwest flavored chicken to the dish to make it more of a substantial dish (I also put quite a bit of butter in, shhh). If you’re trying to go meatless, just omit the chicken. The dish is just as good.
Here’s what you need:
6 tbsp of butter – 2 for sauteeing, and 4 for topping the rice at the end
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
3 cups cooked white rice (I use Jasmine or Thai rice)
1 small red or white onion chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
A LOT of sliced pickled jalapenos finely chopped – it’s hard to say how much, because it’s mostly to taste for me but I would say about 1/2 of a cup depending on how spicy you like it (sometimes I even add more).
1 15 oz. can of black beans drained and rinsed
2 cups of chopped cooked chicken – I use perdue southwest flavored chicken strips, but you can certainly cook your own chicken and add some taco seasonings to it (I’ve done this before also and it turns out just as good) or use a rotisserie chicken
the juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup cilantro for garnish (optional)
1. Start by heating 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. When the butter has melted and the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes until the onions begin to look translucent.
2. Next add the jalapenos and chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Add in the drained, rinsed black beans and the rice and mix it together with the onions, garlic, jalapenos and chicken mixture.
4. At this point, add in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. This will help everything to combine. Keep sauteeing the beans and rice mixture until everything is heated through, the butter is completely melted and the mixture is nicely combined.
5. Turn the heat off and add in the juice of the two limes and mix well. Top with cilantro if you wish.
I’m telling you, this dish is devine.