"A co-worker who was born in Cuba helped me perfect the recipe for this hearty dish," reports Helen Simms of Lyons, Michigan. "Now it's one of our family's favorites. It's also a great way to use up leftover holiday ham."
- 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
- 7 cups water
- 1 cup diced fully cooked lean ham
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/4 teaspoons pepper
- 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers
- Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.
- Return to the pan. Add 7 cups water, ham, garlic, pepper, cumin, salt, bay leaf and liquid smoke if desired. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring broth and rice to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Just before serving, discard bay leaf from bean mixture; add vinegar and oil. Serve over rice. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 tablespoon red pepper and 1 teaspoon jalapenos. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Black Beans 'n' Rice in Taste of Home April/May 2001, p17
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