Sunday, September 8, 2013

Beans and Rice

Ryan decided he really needed some Brazilian beans and rice in our meal rotation, so he purchased a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker for my birthday. It has sat, waiting to be used, ever since as we didn't know how to make Brazilian beans. The rice we've had down for years.

A family across the street from us has a nanny who is from Brazil and, as their younger son is the same age as Malcolm, we've become friends. So I asked the nanny and her husband to come over for dinner one night and show us how to use the pressure cooker and make beans. Her husband plays drums, but they live in an apartment, so I figured he and Ryan would also have fun doing some drumming. They came over on Friday and did just that. The beans took longer than they should have, probably, because we were chatting and dealing with kids and she was showing me what she does. But it turns out it's pretty simple and definitely not an exact science.

It goes something like this:
Sort and rinse pinto beans. Soak the beans for a couple hours if you feel like it. Or don't.
Don't bother rinsing the beans after you soak them - just use the same water to cook them in.
Eyeball the amount of water needed (I'd already had 7.5 cups in there for one pound of beans, but we added some more, so used about 9.5 cups).
Add some paprika and cumin.
Turn on the heat and wait for the pressure to build, turn down the heat some when the pressure has reached the needed level.
Cook for 15-20 minutes, then let the pressure release on its own (this happened faster than I expected) and check the beans. We originally cooked for 15 minutes and some of the beans were super soft while others were not quite soft, so we put them back on the heat and cooked for another 5 minutes or so.
Heat some oil in another pan, add bacon if desired, and garlic and salt. And anything else you'd like to toss in with the beans. Cook for a couple minutes then add the beans and most of the liquid to that. Allow to cook until juices are as thick as you'd like (they'll thicken more as the beans sit, so don't over-thicken the first day).
Serve over rice.

Brazilian rice is way better than your typical steamed rice. And this is a little more exact than the beans:
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil for every cup of water used. Add minced garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add desired amount of rice and cook in oil for several minutes.
Bring water to a boil in a separate pan (1.5 cups water for every 1 cup of rice).
When water is boiling and rice has cooked in oil for a bit, turn of the heat and pour water over rice (this will bubble vigorously, so be careful).
Cover rice with lid and simmer for 18 minutes. If there's time before the main dish is ready, I like to let the rice sit for a couple minutes covered after I turn off the heat.

Our beans and rice turned out really well. A little more salt was needed and they were a little bit thin the first night, but the leftovers had thickened nicely. Gareth said they were really yummy and Malcolm seemed to enjoy them the next day. Ryan and I are excited to add this to our rotation and experiment with the beans a bit. It'll be a good backup/need something fast and easy meal as well, probably replacing pasta as our go-to in that category. And it sounds like our friends have some other good Brazilian food they can show us how to cook, so we have that to look forward to as well.


Amy Rose said...

I'd be curious where they were from in Brasil... this is a different sort of recipe than the one I am used to eating, but I'm sure there are regional differences to it. We lived in Sao Paulo, and ours was even simpler than this.

Erin said...

Yeah, she's not from Sao Paulo, I remember that much. Ryan might remember better than me. I want to say south of Sao Paulo, but I won't even guarantee that. I'll ask her again the next time I see her.

Erin said...
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