Beans and rice: healthy, cheap, easy, filling… and kinda boring, right?
But it doesn’t have to be. This recipe from Bon Appetit takes what is probably the most frequently eaten dish in the world and gives it a little extra oomph (without adding too much extra time).
The most interesting part of this, for me, was what they called the apple salsa. I renamed it apple pico de gallo because I think of salsa as, well, a sauce. And this is not a sauce. (It also isn’t spicy, so you may want to try adding a chopped jalapeno for some extra kick.)
It’s really easy to make, plus it really adds some good flavor and texture. And I do love green apples, even though they remind me of dance camp and lunchtime bomb threats in high school.
The only thing I thought was off with the original recipe is the amount of broth you put in with the beans. Mine were too soupy, even after cooking them longer than suggested and smashing down as many of the beans as possible.
And while this combination works really well together, you should definitely feel free to mess around with it. You could use some other type of chicken, or turkey, or no meat at all. You can try quinoa instead of rice, add some jalapeno to the apple pico or try throwing a few slices of avocado on top of the whole thing. It all works. And it all is a little more exciting than plain black beans and brown rice.
Black beans and rice with chicken and apple pico de gallo (Adapted from Bon Appetit, serves 4-6)
Brown rice (enough for 4 cups cooked)
3-4 medium Granny Smith apples (enough for 1 cup chopped)
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 red onion
1/2 green bell pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves
2 15-ounce cans black beans
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 rotisserie chicken
Start cooking rice (according to package directions).
Peel and core apples, then chop into small pieces. Chop the cilantro and set 1/4 cup of it aside. Finely chop the red onion until you have 1/3 cup.
Stir the apple, 1/4 cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the onion and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lime juice together in a small bowl (you may also want to add a diced jalapeno to this). Set apple pico aside.
Finely dice the green pepper (you want about 1/3 cup) and mince the garlic cloves. Thoroughly rinse and drain the black beans.
Pour the oil into a large skillet and add the remaining red onion and all of the green pepper. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes or until totally softened. Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin and stir constantly while cooking for another 2 minutes.
Stir in the broth and beans and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture bubble a little as you mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon. Keep stirring often and mashing beans until the sauce is thickened (8-10 minutes). Season with salt, pepper and more lime juice if you’d like.
Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat with a fork. To serve, spoon rice and beans onto plate, then top with chicken and pico de gallo. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.