Post-kindergartner’s birthday party, the cook needed a break. Cans to the rescue! This easy and nutritious Jamaican inspired one-pot dish, adapted from a recipe served by friend and coworker Suzanna (of SouthAustinFoodie Adventures) several years ago, hits the spot without breaking the bank or my back.
Right now—and tomorrow, too—Whole Foods is selling Lowell Farms Texas-grown organic jasmine rice for only 99¢ a pound. That’s even cheaper than ordering from the farm! Stock up on this truly gourmet Texas staple and be prepared to sophisticate your starch. Or just lowbrow your lunch. Delicious across the spectrum, and even recommended by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid of Seductions of Rice, this righteous rice hits the spot quick!
JAMAICAN STYLE RICE AND BEANS serves several
- 1½ cups Lowell Farms Texas-grown organic jasmine rice
- 1 15-ounce can organic kidney beans, drained. Reserve liquid for cooking your next batch of homemade beans or soup. Whole Foods and Central Market brands generally sell for less than national brands.
- 1 13-14-ounce can organic coconut milk, light or regular. Whole Foods brand usually sells for the best price.
- 1 cup water or broth. Pepper broth pairs perfectly here. Carrot cooking water (never throw it away!) lends complementary sweetness.
- a Tablespoon or so of fat—I like using leftover pig grease, such as from Dai Due‘s yummy salt pork.
- ½ Tablespoon or so minced fresh domestic organic ginger root. You may already know that I almost never peel ginger. It’s your call though.
- stalk of Texas-grown spring onions (leftover from using the bulb portion for another purpose), quartered, core reserved for the stock pot, and thinly sliced. If the farmers markets have eluded you recently, Central Market’s selling these for $1.69 for a triple-bunch.
- 2 bay leaves—fresh if you’re growin’. This bush is easy enough that you oughta cultivate it yourself. You’ll love the deep aroma of fresh bay leaves.
- hot chile, if you got one—habanero or Scotch bonnet work well for this, but serranos are fine, too. Seed (if desired) and mince your pepper.
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme. Easy to grow, just ensure adequate drainage. If you’re fresh out of fresh thyme, ½ teaspoon dried thyme will suffice.
- 1 teapoon salt. I like Real Salt.
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice. I crush mine in a small mortar and pestle.
In a large (’bout 3-quart) saucepan, heat up your grease over medium-high. Saute the ginger root, bay leaves, onions and peppers if using. Add the thyme and rice and stir around. Pour in the coconut milk and broth and stir in the salt and allspice. Bring to a boil and stir in the beans. Cover and simmer on LOW for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing.
Serve with hot sauce or hot pepper jelly for a tangy or sweet hot kick.