Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Black Beans and Rice : New Years Good Luck

New Years is on the horizon. Do you have any resolutions for next year? Do you make resolutions? I've mostly given up on resolutions, as I rarely stick with them. Instead, I try to make changes or plans in my life as a situation or need comes up. But I've always liked the idea of new year's resolutions; a new beginning, new adventures and plans.

I also like new year's traditions. My mom always makes black eyed peas on new year's day. She says it brings good luck in the new year for those who eat them.

I fear I am going to have bad luck in Germany trying to find black eyed peas - make that, impossible-never-going-to-happen luck. So, I went out in search of something I can make to bring us luck in 2009.

On a cute little blog, which unfortunately seems now defunct, the chef made Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos). She also tells the history of the recipe: "Black beans and rice is a popular Cuban dish said to bring good luck when eaten on New Year's Day. In Spanish, the dish is called Moros y Cristianos or Christians & Moors, with the black beans representing the dark-skinned Moors and the white rice representing the lighter-skinned Christians." Not sure how that relates to good luck, but as long as it does, I'll go with it.

Turned out quite delicious! And I'm very happy to have my 2009 lucky recipe handy for January 1.

Wishing you all a safe, and happy New Years!

Black Beans and Rice

Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, by Sugar Rush

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, peeled if desired, and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 cups drained cooked or canned black beans
1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; don't bother to drain), optional
1 cup bean cooking liquid, or chicken, beef or vegetable stock, or water
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Cooked Rice to serve

Place the oil in a large, deep skillet and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the pepper is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, the beans, the optional tomatoes, the spices and the liquid.

Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the beans are hot and most of the liquid is evaporated, 10 to 20 minutes.

Stir in most of the parsley and remove the bay leaf.

Arrange rice on a platter, in a ring if you like. Spoon the beans over the rice or into the center of the ring, or pass them separately. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.

In case you prefer a vegetarian black eyed pea recipe:
- Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens, from Gluten-Free Bay
- Creole Black Eyed Peas, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
- Black Eyed Peas, from Slashfood

Guten appetit!

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