Friday, May 05, 2006

Belize: Belinean Rice and Beans

Belinean Rice and BeansRice and beans, rice and beans, the rest of the world eats quite a lot of rice and beans. Abkhazian lobio, Aland pancakes, Bangladeshi rice and lentils, Greek rice and tomatoes, nasi goreng, Nepali fried rice, Uzbek fennel rice. Truth to tell, my patience was wearing thin with rice and beans.

So when I realized that the only recipe I had ingredients for last night was Belinean Rice and Beans, I felt – for the first time in my Cook-The-World Campaign – bored. The only interesting ingredient was the coconut milk, so I made it. I half expected another spunky Caribbean dish: coconut, onion, garlic.

But no. The combination of thyme and coconut was immensely soothing. Maybe it's just because it was another cold and rainy May day in Boston, but I place this dish squarely in the warm and wonderful realm of comfort food.

I'll try to remember the strange soothingness of this Belinean dish when I tire in the future – as surely I will – of the relentless progression of rice and beans.

Belinean Rice and Beans
Makes enough for 8

1/2 pound red kidney beans (~2 cups, uncooked)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cups rice
1 cup thick coconut milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme

Soak the beans overnight in water.

Combine beans, onion, and garlic in a pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the beans are tender – about 20 minutes. Add the rice, coconut milk, salt, and thyme. Cook, covered, over low heat until the rice is done and all the liquid is absorbed, adding a little water if the liquid is absorbed before the rice is done.

Eat warm, preferably on a cold and rainy day.

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