Monday, August 9, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Rice and Black Bean Nachos

Last night I decided on Mexican night for dinner. On the menu were Bean Burritos with Spicy Avocado Dressing for dipping, Spicy Rice and Black Bean Nachos. Now the Bean Burritos and the Spicy Avocado Dressing I've posted on here before, so I won't repeat them. But here is how it went with the rice and nachos:

Spicy Rice
from Perfect Mexican


3 tbs oil
6 scallions, chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
Corn kernels, cut from one ear of corn
2 fresh mild green chilies, seeded and finely chopped (I used jalapenos from my garden!)
9 oz/1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 pint/2 1/2 cups broth
2 tbs chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper


  • Heat oil in large, heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Add scallions, celery and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until soft.
Then add peppers and corn and cook 5 minutes.
  • Add rice and cumin and cook, stirring to coat the grains in oil, for 2 minutes.

  • Stir in broth and half of the cilantro, and bring to boil.

  • Reduce heat and let simmer 15 minutes, or until nearly all liquid is absorbed and rice is just tender.
  • Remove from heat, fluff with fork.
  • Stir in the remaining cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes, before serving. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Black Bean Nachos
from vegetarian


Canned beans, drained
6-8 oz/1 1/2-2 cups grated cheese, such as Cheddar, fontina, romano, Asiago, or a combination
1/4 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
4 tbs sour cream
Thinly sliced pickled jalapeno chilies (optional)
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Handful of shredded lettuce
Tortilla chips, to serve

  • Spread the beans in a shallow ovenproof dish, then scatter the cheese over the top. Sprinkle with cumin to taste.

  • Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the beans are cooked through and the cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • Remove from the oven and spoon the sour cream on top. Add the chilies, if using, and sprinkle with cilantro and lettuce.

The verdict:

The meal was a little off, but it wasn't due to poor recipes. The recipes were awesome! It was due to me being a little off with my preparation last night.

The nachos were left in the oven too long, as I got tied up with something else. This caused the cheese to be overcooked. So the flavor was there, but the consistency was rather hard instead of gooey. I dished the nachos into individual dishes before topping it with the lettuce.

The Spicy Rice. I swear. Everytime I make a dish like this, where the rice cooks in the liquid with other ingredients, I have the same issue. The rice never wants to cook. I cooked this dish for about 30-40 minutes longer than I was supposed to, and I used 4 cups of broth rather than 2 1/2 cups, plus I added probably another 1/2-1 cup of water. STILL I couldn't get all of the rice to cook! Arg! So the flavor was there, but ever bite has a couple of granules of rice that were still crunchy. I am going to attribute this to the frying pan being bigger than the burner, so that the heating element doesn't heat the outside edges of the pan enough. Next time I will either cook this in a saucepan, or I will cook the rice separately in broth and then mix it in with the veggies to let it finish.

However seeing this picture of the spicy rice has gotten me thinking. Some of the rice cooked so long and slow in the broth that it was almost like risotto. I ought to try using this recipe to make a spicy Mexican risotto some night!

The dressing and burritos were okay. Woodrow really liked the dressing, but it actually wasn't as good as the first time I made it. This time it tasted like it had too much lime juice and not enough spice. Next time I should go lighter on the flavors, and then adjust them after I process it in the food processor.

So dinner was okay, but there was definitely lots of room for improvement. However it was good enough that I'm eating leftovers for lunch today!

Then for dessert we had individual creme brules! Target sells these creme brules frozen in ceramic dishes. Just sprinkle on the sugar and stick it under the broiler for 6 minutes.
Not as good as "the real thing", but still good! A fine way to finish off any meal!