Sweet and Spicy Black Beans and Rice

Habaneros.

They’re so coy.  Deceivingly innocent with their adorable lantern shape; they don’t even smell spicy!

We’ve had them at work for a while and I’ve been eying them.  They just look so…inviting.

I don’t get a lot of spicy things out here.  It’s definatley something I miss about the city because Southern Maryland certainly does not do spicy foods.  You go to any restaurant and try their “spicy” dish and well…it’s not.  Like at all.

I can’t even handle super spicy stuff (or at least I thought) but apparently I like my foods spicier than the average person these days.  Mr. C on the other hand..he’s one of those guys who orders full Indian style spicy vindaloo…and he loves it.

So, early last week I bought some of those habaneros, took them home and then watched them some more.  They’ve been sitting on my kitchen table next to the apples, staring at me every time I walk by, saying, “Look at me!  Look at me!  I am so pretty and delicious- I will fill your every need and desire- don’t fear me!  Try me- try meeeee!”

You think I jest but I do not.  The habaneros talk to me.  (Just like the Thai Peppers that Fred the farmer gave me the other day…I have yet to play with them though.)

This weekend I started thinking about the habaneros.  When I use hot peppers, I like them to blend in and become “one” with the dish.  Taking a bite of a whole pepper?  Not my thing.

Going into this dish I worried about the habanero.  How much was too much?  If I put too much…we’ll that just wouldn’t be good and if I didn’t put enough…well what was the point?

I was going to put a whole habanero in (after all, it was a decent amount of beans and those habaneros just look so cute and sweet!) but Mr. C advised me not to.  To quote him, he said that “If it’s a real habanero it must be respected.”

The super cute lantern-looking habanero must be respected.

I chose to only use half a habanero which, in the end, was just the right choice.  The beans have enough kick, heat and spice to pack a punch without being painful and overwhelming.  Now of course, spicy preferences differ from person to person so of course you should adjust based on your personal tolerance levels.  I was quite pleased with it but I know for Mr. C he could (and would) probably do with some more heat and my mom, well, could do with less (or none at all).  I even told her not to touch the black beans in the fridge because I knew she wouldn’t like them.

Sweet and Spicy Black Beans and Rice

Serves 3-4

1 Cup Dried Black Beans

2 TBSP Oil

1 Medium Onion, chopped

1 Garlic Clove, chopped

2 Carrots, chopped

1 Tomato, chopped (keep the juices!)

1/2 Habanero, minced

1 tsp Madras Curry

1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika

1 tsp Molasses

1 TBSP Maple Syrup

2 Cups Water

Salte, to taste

 

1 1/2 Cups Dry Rice

2 1/2 Cups Water

1/2 tsp Salt

 

Put the dried beans in a bowl and cover with about 2 inches of cold water and soak overnight.

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium before adding onion.  Cook for five minutes before adding garlic.  Toss for about a minute before adding carrots, tomato (with juices), habanero, madras curry and smoked paprika.  Cook for ten minutes, stirring frequently.

Add black beans, molasses, maple syrup and water.  Season with a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 10 minutes before lowering heat and covering.  Cook for 40 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally until beans are cooked and water is absorbed.

While beans are cooking, in a separate pot cook the rice.  Add rice, water and salt.  Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes until rice is cooked and water absorbed.

Serve beans over the rice and enjoy that spicy goodness!

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