Saturday, January 4, 2014

Arroz Congris

Arroz congris
What, you thought I said "Arrest Congress"?  No, as irritable as the ways of government gridlock may make us, we won't go there today.  Arros Congris is something much more enjoyable, a delicious Cuban-style dish, hearty and protein-rich, based primarily on tender, meaty black beans and fluffy rice.

I had a big bag of reconstituted @RanchoGordo black beans on hand, and there's always plenty of rice in the pantry - long-grain, basmati and various risotto varieties - do it didn't take long to steam up 1/2 cup of long-grain rice and warm 3/4 cup of cooked black beans in about a half-cup of their dark, rich "potlikker."

From there the dish for two is quick and easy:  While the rice steams, warm olive oil in a big, wok-like pan, and brown about 1/2 cup each onions, green bell peppers and celery with plenty of chopped garlic and a bit of salt, black and red pepper. When the veggies are soft and the onions starting to brown, reduce heat to low and stir in 3.4 cup of diced tomatoes and their juice (I used canned), then the beans and part of the potlikker, reserving some of the liquid for later use.  Check seasoning and add a dash or two of Caribbean-style habanero sauce to taste and 1/2 cub chopped scallions, and hold at a simmer over very low heat.  When the rice is finished, stir it in to the bean mix, adding just enough additional potlikker (and water if needed) to make the result a soft, pilaf-like mass. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.