101 One-Dish Dinners: Hearty Recipes for the Dutch Oven, Skillet & Casserole Pan, by Andrea Chesman is filled with 101 quick fixes for a homemade dinner without the fuss. These recipes use spices and flavors from around the world to give comfort foods a new twist. The following excerpt is from Chapter 2, "Skillet Suppers."
What is known as "red rice" in the South is called "Spanish rice" in the rest of the United States. Like many Southern specialties, this dish probably originated in Africa. Red rice bears a striking resemblance to "jollof rice," which has its origins in West Africa. Although there are many variations of jollof rice, the most common basic ingredients are rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and red pepper. Beyond that, nearly any kind of meat, fish, vegetable, or spice is used. This is a vegetarian version, using black beans to provide a color and flavor contrast. Chicken or shrimp can be used instead.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1-2 green chiles, seeded (optional) and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
- Boiling water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Wash the rice in at least two changes of water. Drain well.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the rice, onion, bell pepper, chiles, chili powder, and cumin in the oil, stirring constantly, until the rice appears opaque and toasted and the onion is softened, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Drain the tomatoes, pouring the juice into a large glass measure. Add enough boiling water to the juice to make 4 cups. Add this liquid along with the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste to the skillet. Stir well.
- Cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and boil gently until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the black beans and cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve at once.