The Best Beans and Rice in the World is Vegetarian

My stepmother Ketly has always made the best beans and rice in the world. A couple of weekends ago when I visited her in New York, she shared her recipe with me. I had always assumed that beans that delicious had to contain a generous helping of something disgustingly unhealthy, like fatback or lard. I was wrong. In fact, they are entirely vegetarian. The secret lies in her method and her secret ingredient: an unexpected spice. Midway through cooking the beans, Ketly fries them in a little olive oil with some garlic, onion, scallion, parsley and, interestingly, cloves. As a high school student, I often absentmindedly bit into one of these cloves (without knowing what it was or how important to the overall dish.) So, I have substituted powdered cloves in honor of other absent-minded eaters.

Black beans and rice

1 pound dried black beans

1 pound white rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 scallion, diced

pinch of powdered cloves

several tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse black beans and check for stones. (To be honest, I don’t think stones get into beans much these days, thanks to modern processing. But Ketly is old school about this!) Place in pot and add enough water that the water level rises about 2 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 35-40 minutes, adding water if it looks like the beans have absorbed it all.  Beans should still be a little hard. Drain beans, reserving cooking water in a bowl. Heat olive oil in the bean pan and cook garlic, scallion, onion and parsley/cilantro for a minute. Add drained beans to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and cloves. Fry, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Add rice and continue to fry for a minute or two. Add reserved cooking water to pan plus additional water if there’s not enough liquid to cover the beans and rice. Bring beans and rice to a boil then cook for 15-20 minutes, or until beans and rice have absorbed all the water. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

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One Response to The Best Beans and Rice in the World is Vegetarian

  1. sandee richardson says:

    YUMMMY. Love Beans and Rice, and I plan to try this recipe. I too thought that any bean worth eating had to have simmered in some sort of fat product, so I love the tip about frying the beans with those ingredients Ketly uses (still a little unsure about the cloves.) Thanks for the recipe, Holly. I’m loving your blog.

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