Baked Black Beans with Rice


A surprisingly simple one-pot meal you finish in the oven for a crisp crust.
TIME About 2 hours, mostly unattended
MAKES 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¾ cup dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
1½ cups long-grain white rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


Method
1 Put the oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

2 Stir in the beans, add enough water to cover them by about 2 inches, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary to keep the beans submerged, until the beans are softening but still hard in the middle, 45 to 60 minutes.

3 Heat the oven to 350°F. Roughly mash some of the beans in the pot with a fork, the back of a spoon, or a potato masher; you want to leave at least half of them intact.

4 Add the rice and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Let the beans and rice settle back to the bottom of the pot. They should be covered by 1 inch of liquid; if not, add enough water so they are. (If there’s too much in the pot, spoon some of it out and reserve it to add later if you need it.)

5 Transfer the pot—uncovered—to the oven and cook until the rice and beans are tender, about 1 hour, adding water (or the reserved cooking liquid) ¼ cup at a time if the mixture becomes dry before the rice and beans are done. Taste and adjust the seasoning, fluff with a fork, and serve garnished with the cilantro.

Variations
  • Black-Eyed Peas with Rice: A shortcut on the classic southern dish known as hoppin’ John. Substitute black-eyed peas for the black beans and add 1 cup chopped smoked ham or sausage and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves along with the rice in Step 4. Garnish with parsley instead of cilantro.

Tips
  • This is a great dish to make ahead. When it’s done and cooled, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days, then reheat in a 350°F oven—covere —until hot, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Canned beans are a good option here and let you get dinner on the table in half the time. Drain and rinse two 15-ounce cans black beans. Stir them in when you would the dried beans (along with enough water to cover by 1 inch) and cook to warm them for 5 minutes before moving on to Step 3.

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