Thursday, March 1, 2012

Coconut Rice and Beans

 I've made this several's really tasty, and perfect for Fridays during Lent.  I usually make this version of rice and beans (minus the sausage), but as it's 82 degrees today, and the forecast is expected to be the same tomorrow, it just seems too heavy for my liking.  This tropical version is lighter, and may be perfect for people with certain food allergies, as it contains coconut milk instead of cow's milk.  

I love anything with coconut and mango, and I don't feel guilty having 2 bowls of this lovely concoction.  However, I will try to limit myself to one.  I've been lazy over the past 2 weeks, but I'm going to force myself to get back on my exercise regimen. ;-)

Coconut Rice and Beans

1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
34 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/4 cups basmati rice (uncooked)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion, diced
1 green or red pepper, diced
1 (15 ounces) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounces) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed*
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced 
1 ripe mango, diced for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spread the coconut out in a single layer.  Toast for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.  Watch it carefully, it can burn on you in half a second!  

In a medium pot, bring the chicken broth, water, coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper to a boil.  Stir in the rice, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. 

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan.  Toss in the onions and peppers, and cook for 5-6 minutes or until tender. 

Add the black beans, black eyed peas*, (for whatever reason, my grocery store doesn't carry canned black eyed peas, but they were in the frozen vegetable aisle) chili powder, cumin, and 3/4 cup of water.  Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  I got sidetracked and forgot to take a picture of the finished beans...sorry.  Just use your imagination. :-)

Zest the lime and squeeze out the juice into a small bowl.  

When the rice is done, stir in the toasted coconut, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, and green onions.  And I forgot to take a picture of the finished rice too...sorry again!

To serve, mound the rice on a plate, and top with a portion of the beans.  Garnish with diced mango, and additional chopped cilantro and green onions if desired.  I like to reserve a bit of the toasted coconut and sprinkle that on too.  

It's not summer here yet,'s not even spring, but this is a taste of the tropics.  Take a bite, close your eyes, and imagine yourself on a beach in the Caribbean..  Okay, maybe that's a bit much, but I think you may agree once you try it!  

Happy Lent, and God bless your table tonight!  

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