I’ll eat anything that could be construed as a hot sauce delivery vehicle. But, I’m especially fond of rice and beans with shrimp, and loads of veggies. I make a big pot every other week. We love the leftovers, plus it’s an easy lunch. Nothing revolutionary about this one pot meal, but there are a few upgrades that I think are worth sharing.
First, I like to brown the garlic, then add the onions and cook til translucent, then add the peppers. It’s all about building the flavors, one on top of the other. I used to mix everything into the rice while I was boiling it, which was fine, but I get way more out of starting with the veg, and working up to the rice. After the base, add whatever else you like–last night, kidney beans and about 2 cups of frozen corn.
Once everyone is in the pot, add the spices. I go with 3 C’s: chili powder, cinnamon and cumin. I tend to have more cumin, less of the other two, but it’s all about your taste. If you have fresh herbs, I recommend cilantro, but towards the end so it doesn’t lose the beautiful green color, and crunch. Delicious!
Give the spices a couple of minutes to incorporate over low heat. Next, we add the rice. It might feel unnatural to add rice to a liquidless pot, but don’t worry, we’re getting there. I wanted another dinner, plus a lunch, so I added 1 1/4 cups of rice. Stir it around, incorporate the rice with the veggies.
Now, add the liquid. You can add water, of course, but I’ve been experimenting with some different things. Last night I did half vegetable broth, half apple cider vinegar. The goal is not to cover the contents of the pot in liquid, but rather to add just enough that you can see it coming up the edges of the pot. I tried lime juice and broth a couple of weeks ago, and while tasty, the sugar in the fruit made more rice than anticipated stick to the bottom of the pot. I’ve done beer and lime, also good. I’d like to try beer and apple cider vinegar, but this is contingent on me not having drank my whole beer yet. We’ll see.
Cover to simmer for about 7-8 minutes, and lift the lid periodically to stir. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed into the rice, and the rice tastes done (i.e. not crunchy), lift the lid and let the rest of the liquid evaporate over the lowest heat. When you test your rice for doneness, check the spices–you may want more! If you want less, I recommend adding more beans, more corn, or more of whatever starchy vegetable you have laying around. Potatoes are good (but only if they’re already cooked). You can also tone it down with dairy–cheese, plain yogurt, sour cream.
Want to add shrimp? I always have frozen salad shrimp in the freezer. They’re already cleaned, cooked and without tails. Just thaw them in water, and they are ready to go. I use about 1 1/2 cups, and I like to chop mine up to ensure shrimpy goodness in every bite. Because they’re already cooked, stir them in at the end of cooking–the last of the liquid evaporating–or else they’ll get rubbery. You’re really just knocking the chill off and letting them get flavored.
From start to finish, this is about 20-30 minutes, depending on how many veggies you add, how much chopping is involved, and how big of a batch you want to make. Easy to make, easy to clean up!