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    Sunday, December 01, 2002
    Black Beans and Rice

    Mmmm. One of my favorite things.

    Today I decided to do a little experimental cooking based on a recipe I found in "Outlaw Cook," a book by John Thorne. This guy knows his food; he and his wife have run a subscription magazine called "Simple Cooking" for about 20 years now.

    This particular recipe was for black beans and rice. The kicker was the side dish served with it. John Thorne and his wife adapted a recipe for beans and rice which originally called for baked deviled eggs served on the side - they simply chopped hard-cooked eggs and put them in a curried white sauce, served with the beans and rice. Me, I love deviled eggs, so I thought that simply serving chilled deviled eggs alongside the main dish would work. It did.

    The recipe:
    Soak 2 cups of black beans overnight, then put them to boil in 10 cups of water (I used 8) with a bay leaf, 2 stalks of celery cut in large chunks, a bunch of parsley and a ham hock (I used a cup of ham scraps/pieces donated by someone who had ham for Thanksgiving along with their turkey). Skim off the scum from the beans in the first 10 minutes before adding the celery, etc. Then turn down to a simmer. Cook for one hour, or until beans are tender. It may take longer. Then fish out the bay leaf, parsley and celery and discard. If you used ham pieces, chop them up and return them to the soup. If you used a ham hock, cut off the meat and dice it, then return meat and bone to the soup.

    Now add the following flavoring mixture: 1-2 onions (depends on how large), chopped; 3 cloves garlic, chopped; 1-2 tsp each of cumin and oregano (I used 1 of cumin and 2 of oregano); and one dried hot red pepper, seeded and minced, or a tad of cayenne pepper if you don't have a dried one (I used about 1/2 tsp of cayenne). Saute all this in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and then add to the beans. Now add salt to the beans - 1/2 tsp at a time, be careful. Then let simmer another hour.

    While the beans are simmering, get the rice ready - cook as usual: 1 part rice to 2 parts water is the rule. Also, hard cook 6 eggs and devil as follows, once they are cooled and peeled. Slice eggs in half, remove yolks and sieve or mash. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tsp vinegar (distilled white is fine), 1/2 tsp or less of salt (be careful here too), dash white pepper, 1/4 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp prepared mustard (dijon is nice if you have it). Blend and stuff back into the egg halves.

    Put the cooked rice into hot bowls, add beans and cooking liquid, and serve the eggs on the side. This is GOOD.



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