One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~ Luciano Pavarotti ~
Simple but satisfying
During my trip to Mexico in 2017, I was surprised by the simplicity of traditional Mexican dishes. Like Mexican Rice. Except if you stir-fried it with prawns, or rolled it around salmon, I would always choose a starch other than rice. But I tried the Mexican version of that boring old staple, and I was bowled over. There are many variations of Mexican Rice, like Lime Cilantro Rice, but my favourite was a tomato infused rice with black beans and chilli.
Once you find it, never let it go
Home from my trip I spent hours on Pinterest looking for something similar to what I ate in Mexico. Eventually, I found this recipe for Mexican Tomato Rice & Beans from FineCooking. This was it! And it was easy to make too! I have made the recipe many times now, and can really recommend it. I make it exactly as indicated and it is flop-proof. At times I have battled to find black beans in my local shops, but I have learnt to buy more than one tin at a time and stock up. I have once even used red kidney beans when I just couldn’t find black beans. I have also used dried oregano instead of fresh, but the result is still delicious.
The Mexican Fiesta continues…
I have professed my love for Mexican food in my Drunken Beans post. The combination of drunken beans, Mexican rice and the other well-known Mexican toppings is a winning one. I don’t even need to have a tortilla – I just dish up all the goodness into a bowl and tuck in. But this Mexican Rice recipe is also my go-to recipe if I want to make burritos and I have used it as a side dish with spicy mince. As I have said before: Life without Mexican food is no life at all!
Mexican Tomato Rice & Beans
- 1 cup uncooked white rice I use Tastic rice
- 1 tin can diced tomatoes (400g)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or less if you prefer
- 1 medium jalapeno, finely chopped if you like spicy foods, leave in the ribs and seeds; if not, remove them
- 1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed (400g)
- 1 t kosher salt
- 2 t ground cumin
- 1 t chilli powder
- ¼ cup oregano, finely chopped I have used 15ml dried oregano instead of fresh
- ¼ cup cilantro (fresh coriander), finely chopped If I use dried oregano I use a bit more cilantro
- Combine the rice with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pan stand, covered, for another 5 minutes.
- While the rice steams, set a fine sieve in a bowl and drain the can of tomatoes. Pour the tomato juices into a 1-cup liquid measure. Add enough water to the tomato juices to equal 1 cup.
- Stir-fry the garlic and jalapeno in the oil until the garlic browns and the jalapeno smells pungent, about 1 minute.
- Add the black beans, salt, cumin, and chilli powder; stir two to three times to incorporate the mixture and cook the spices, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomato juice and water mixture and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans absorb much of the liquid, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, oregano, cilantro, and cooked rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is warm, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.