Friday, November 24, 2017
Flashback Friday - Saffron Rice and Beans
Probably half of the dinners I cook during the week are pieced together from leftovers. One of the things I always hated as a kid was when my mother would serve reheated leftovers in the same form as they were served originally. Nine times out of ten, the meal was a pale imitation of the original, so I always prefer to reinvent the leftovers into some other type of dish. Besides, there's almost never enough food left over to serve exactly the same way. Case in point, a meal I put together the other day.
When I opened the fridge, our leftover inventory consisted of a container of steamed rice, some tomato sauce, and four thin slices of pot roast that Minx had ordered at our favorite diner a few nights earlier. My usual plan when I'm confronted with rice is to do a Chinese-style fried rice dish, but we had eaten Chinese food the night before, so I thought about other cuisines that use rice. That's when paella popped into my head.
Of course, paella is way too complicated, and I didn't have all the ingredients for it anyway, but I thought by adding saffron to the rice, I could build on the paella inspiration. Digging through the pantry, I found a can of black beans and, in the freezer, our usual stash of frozen peas. Rice and beans are a classic, and saffron rice tastes great, so this could actually work. Cooked all together with onions and garlic, the dish was homey and comforting, while having a touch of the exotic thanks to the saffron. I sprinkled the chopped pot roast into the dish for meaty goodness, but the recipe below excludes the pot roast because a) not everyone will have leftover pot roast in the fridge; and b) the recipe works great as a vegetarian dish.
Saffron Rice and Beans
2 cups cooked rice
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of butter
A few strands of saffron bloomed in 1/2 cup of warm water
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
15 oz. can black beans
4 oz. tomato puree or tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen petite peas
salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro and scallion for garnish
Place a few strands of saffron in 1/2 cup of water to "bloom," or turn the water into a nice yellow color. While that's going on, open a can of black beans, dump them in a colander, and rinse the starch off under running water. With that prep work done, chop a medium onion and saute it in a pan with olive oil and melted butter. Once the onions are translucent, dump in the cooked rice and mix together. Add your garlic and the saffron water. Mix everything together well so that the rice takes on a yellow color. Add the tomato puree, and then add the black beans and the petite peas. Once everything is incorporated and heated through, season with salt, pepper, and the fresh oregano. Once on the plate, sprinkle some cilantro and chopped scallion on top for garnish.