It is better to give than receive, but it is still awesome, especially as a foodie, to see how generous family members have been to us this Christmas.
The Healdsburg branch of the family gave us an enormous and lovely basket filled with things like a whole hard salami which was gone in a flash, a jug of apple cider syrup, the addictive nut cake with brandy (also gone), a cute sack with hot chocolate mix, a yummy sounding asparagus soup mix, and more.
Tonight we enjoyed the black bean and rice soup. It started out as a mix. The beans were in one packet, the seasoning in another, and the rice and some dried red pepper in another.
We started by rinsing the beans using another generous gift, the folding strainer, which my sister and brother-in-law from Sac gave us. It's pretty nifty and well designed. Don't the beans look great next to that bright red silicon?
You could cook this without a mix, but the amounts are approximate in the recipe below - I'm just guessing at what was in the mix. While the beans were cooking, our own onion, garlic, red bell peppers (fresh) and olive oil were sauteed together and added as directed. It didn't ask for the fresh bell peppers, but I thought that they would add a bit of fresher taste, which they did. Once the rice and dried peppers were added and cooked, I put the whole thing in the 'fridge overnight. Today I reheated it and served it with a butter lettuce, mandarin orange and avacado salad, garnished with sliced almonds. Some fresh multi-grain bread rounded out the meal. The soup was pretty spicy, but good and filling. Thank you P-P & T-W!
Black Bean Soup with Rice and Red Peppers
1 1/2 cups small black beans, rinsed and sorted
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 cups water
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup medium or long grained white rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
Put beans in a large pot, add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.
While beans are cooking, saute the garlic, onion, and fresh bell pepper in the olive oil over medium-high heat until the onion is transluscent. After beans have cooked, add the seasonings, tomatoes, rice, and sauted mixture. Stir well. Simmer, covered, for an additional 30 minutes. Stir frequently to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If desired, cool and refrigerate overnight, then reheat to serve. Makes about 8 on cup servings.