Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Classic Mexican Red Rice and Frijoles

You can always judge a good Mexican restaurant by the strength of their rice and beans. They shouldn't be too ostentatious; after all they're supposed to be sides, second fiddles to the big fat spicy something that you really want. The beans must be simple, creamy, and savory; the rice should be nutty and subtly sweet. At home, it's easy to open a can of refried beans and make a box of spanish rice mix, but you'll be missing out if you do. (Besides, it's Cinco de Mayo, so it's worth the extra effort!) These two also-rans are muy muy delicioso when piping hot, fresh and homemade. And don't always pigeon-hole them as sides. They make a delicious dinner, side by side with a light sprinkling of cheese, a generous salsa soak, and a dollop of sour cream. (They make a good breakfast, too. I couldn't resist the leftovers this morning...)

Classic Mexican Frijoles
Estimated Cost: $2.00
Note: After you cook the beans and before you start smashing away, you might want to take out a couple cupfulls and freeze them whole. They'll be all ready for chili, soup, stew, and even for more frijoles in a few weeks.

1 (16 ounce) bag dried pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves, garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth, stock, or bouillion
3 cups water
Optional: 2 tablespoons bacon grease, corn oil, or butter
salt and pepper to taste
cheese for serving

Rinse beans in a large pot of water and soak overnight. Drain well. Add onion, garlic, broth, and water. Simmer uncovered for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Add fat, if using. (I leave it out and I don't miss it.) When beans are softened, mash with potato masher, immersion blender, or fork until desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a small sprinkling of cheese.

Classic Mexican Red Rice
Estimated Cost: $1. 50

Note: If you don't have homemade salsa, you can use tomato sauce. Reduce the quantity to four tablespoons and add it with the broth only.

1 tablespoon olive or corn oil
1/2 white onion, minced
1 cup long grain white rice
1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth, stock or bouillion
6 tablespoons salsa, divided (USE THE FIRE ROASTED TOMATO SALSA HERE)

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and rice and saute until rice is toasted, about five minutes, stirring often. Add broth and 3 tablespoons salsa. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons salsa. Let rest for five minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.


Camilla V. Saulsbury said...

Hi Prudy,

I am always game for rice and beans--one of my favorite cheap eats! I will have to give yours a try (I'm uusally lazy and spice up some canned beans, but I'm long overdue to make them from scratch).

Camilla V. Saulsbury said...

Hey Prudy,

One more thing. I just took a peak at your profile and practically squealed when I saw your favorite movies. Your first three (s in the r, bbc p & p, and s of m) are three of my very, very favorite. My sister and I use silly quotes from singing in the rain ("I caaant stan 'im" and "it's VULGAR!" in particular).

Don't even get me started on pride and prejudice (and Colin Firth)...

Anonymous said...

All or your quinto recipes look so delicious that I've decided I can't wait until el quinto to celebrate, so we'll be celebrating the fourth! ( I would have written "the fourth" in Espanol, but my Babes was playing with my Spanish/English dictionary earlier - and now I can't find it! Hay Que Lastima!

Jenny said...

I love all of these cinco de mayo Recipes "Prudy!" I'm a sucker for mexican food and always stuff myself until I can barely walk! It all looks terrific!

Mary Kate said...

Dear Prudy,
I have loved these recipes since that beautiful New Years Eve party were you cooked mass amounts of mexican food. I have never seen people eat more mexican food in one night in my entire life! So delicious it's not even funny!

Prudy said...

You had a post about your favorite movies a while back- I couldn't believe it either! We could have stayed up all night studying in college together with old movie background noise. Sounds like your sister and my sisters could have joined in, too. My kids are joining the ranks of old movie lovers too, althought my little boy is not too sure about P and P. He does get a kick out greasy Mr. Collins, though.

Prudy said...

El Cuarto. As you can see, I'm making all my food ahead of time. By the time El Quinto rolls around, I'll probably have to go to some taco shack, but don't tell.

Prudy said...

If you grow up in the southwest, you learn early how to stuff yourself on Mexican food. It's the best!

Prudy said...

Mary Kate:
Remember that night in 1993 when we both ate 7 and 1/2 tacos???? I'm not proud; well, maybe just a little. I'll never forget it. just remind me to never do that again.

Michal said...

help, prudy! i am making frijoles for 75 people today. i have used your recipe for years but now i'm wondering--can i make these in a crock pot without sacrificing taste or texture? i am nervous about burning the chow, not to mention heating up my kitchen on a hot day. i know i could do it stovetop if i had to, but the lazy woman in me is dreaming of crock pot beans and living a free and easy day.

Michal said...

i thought i'd report on my beans. they were fabulous in the crock pot. i did drain off quite a bit of the liquid before smashing and serving, but other than that, they were perfect. and it was a perfectly easy and energy-friendly (cool) way to make beans for 75 people. btw, i used three very large crockpots.
thanks for the brilliant recipe. i have used yours for years and never been disappointed.