Rice and beans, whether it’s Arroz con Habicuelas in Puerto Rican cuisine or Arroz con Frijoles in Mexican cooking, is a common staple. Can’t go wrong with it: rice has the carbohydrates and beans have the protein. An inexpensive, convenient and healthy meal. Thus I’m always on the lookout for something similar in other cultures. That’s when I came across Greek Style Beans combined with Greek rice, or pilafia. In this case, rice pilaf with onion (pilafi me kremmithakia).
Note that in the recipe given, I use dry white beans, which have to be soaked in water overnight. You can cut corners (and cheat) by using canned white beans but, my friends, it just won’t taste the same. Go the extra mile and soak the suckers then cook. You won’t regret it. Also, I topped everything with Greek Kalamata olives. This is optional, but it does enhance the dish.
GREEL STYLE BEANS
2 cups small white beans
¼ cup olive oil
2 scallions, chopped
¼ teaspoon coriander powder or dried oregano
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Soak beans overnight and drain. Cover with fresh water by at least 2 inches. Bring to boil, lower heat and cook, covered, over moderate-low heat until beans are tender but not mushy (about 1 hour).
- Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes longer. Serve with Rice Pilaf with Onion (see recipe below).
Yield: 4 servings.
RICE PILAF WITH ONION
2 tablespoons olive oil
1¼ cup long-grain rice
2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups hot water and 2 teaspoons chicken broth granules
½ cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup kalamata olives, halved (optional)
- Wash rice at least 3 times in cold water and drain to rid it of starch. What in Pennsylvania Dutch country is know as “washing in several waters.”
- Heat oil in a medium-sized pot or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the rice and cook until golden in color, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth to boiling. Add the chicken broth to the rice, plus the onion and garlic. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 30 minutes). Fluff the rice with a fork, served with the beans and topped with the kalamata olives.
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