Along with all the images of fluffy bunnies and decorated eggs or falling leaves and bountiful cornucopias, the Wheel of the Year at this time of the year, has an additional underlying theme of balance, a time when light and dark hold equal time before switching dominance.
We all get out of balance for one reason or another at busy and complicated times in our lives. That does not mean there is a need to stay that way. Doing a regular check and correction brings awareness.
If you gather together to celebrate, then reflecting this theme of balance in food helps to hold focus and open conversation. Bringing black and white into the plan is an easy way to do this. Equinox cookies are one option, another is this sweet & spicy black bean dish served with coconut rice and a pureed red pepper garnish.
You will need:
2 – 19 oz./540ml cans of black beans
14. oz/398ml can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Worchestershire
1 tsp. Chipotli pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 onion chopped
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. maple syrup
pepper sauce to taste
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 red pepper per person served as puree
1 1/2 cups Jasmin rice
14oz/398ml can coconut milk
Deep breath in. Hold for a moment then exhale releasing as much air and whatever you are holding onto as possible. Clear even more by washing your hands in warm water and seeing any niggles fall off the ends of your fingertips along with the waterdrops. Grab an apron while bringing your thought into the present moment and invite the compassionate spirits to come and play. Begin.
I add the suggestion of sauteing them first mostly because they will take the longest time to soften. So if there is a time constraint, this will allow several hours to be taken off the cooking time.
The other consideration will be the red peppers. If the choice is not to use them as a garnish then dicing and adding the peppers to the slowcooker is the alternate option and there is no need to have as many peppers available, unless your supply is bountiful and in need of being used up. They will sweeten the finished dish.
Once those two decisions are made, put all the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir well. If gluten free is mandatory, make sure to read the ingredient list on all the condiments being added and make substitutions for anything that contains gluten.
Cook on slow for 4 – 6 hours or until the flavours have had enough time to come together and a sauce has developed. The honey and maple syrup are an example of what happens when you are willing to follow nudges and play in the kitchen. I was down to the end of the maple syrup and wanted the container out of the fridge, so I let it dribble out over the slow cooker and reduced the honey. Adjust the final taste to your preferences. You may like yours hotter or sweeter.
Roast in the oven until tender at 375 degrees F, until done. I used a counter to toaster/convection oven which has a smaller space to heat and the veggies are closer to the elements so it took a shorter amount of time.
If this dish is being made for a gathering and the peppers are in a regular oven, expect it to take 15-25 minutes.
Transfer the peppers to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a baggie that can seal itself. Cut the tip off and pipe the puree onto the rice and beans. The bag will get hot, so let your hands “air”. Spirals, the eight fold wheel and pentagrams are all options.
Let’s talk coconut milk before getting the rice started. There are many brands on the market and they all have varying amount of the clear watery component in coconut milk and the thicker white more paste like element. Some tins have separated into these two sections and others are so full of the clear liquid that there is really no separating going on. Use the clear liquid, then top it up with water to create the amount of liquid needed to cook the rice. Keep the white more solid portion to stir in after the rice is cooked.
While the peppers are roasting, place the Jasmin rice and 3 cups “water” in a medium pot. Cover with a lid and place over high heat until the water boils. Do not take the lid off. Take the lidded pot off the heat to control the heat. Turn the heat down to minimum and return pot to the element for 15 minutes. Take off the heat as needed in the first few minutes until the temperature inside the pot reduces. If you have a rice cooker then by all means continue following the manufacturers instructions. Once the 15 minutes are up, let the rice sit off heat for another 5 minutes then add in the remaining portion of the coconut milk and stir. Replace top and let sit until ready to serve.
Serving the rice and beans with a straight division through the middle is the easiest presentation and appropriate for equinox celebrations. If you are feeling adventurous try creating a curved line like the division between the two sides of the yin/yang symbol.
Serving assembly style with one person dishing up rice, another adding the beans and a third doing the piping is the quickest way to get this dish hot to the table for a large group of people. Serving at home is usually simpler.
Black Beans & Coconut Rice from My Kitchen Wand