Yesterday at the market I stumbled on organic dried heirloom beans that were so pretty and so cheap, I couldn’t resist scooping up a bag full. Once home, I put them in the fridge covered with water to soak overnight, (which speeds up the cooking time and reduces the ‘flatulence’ factor), and planned to go to the local farmers market today to buy a bunch of fresh veggies to make a bean and vegetable stew for Meatless Monday. The day got away from me and I never got out the door. So I made do with what was on hand. It was delicious.

Cardamom and Cinnamon Scented Rice and Beans

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of beans

3 cups of chicken broth

1 cup water

1 1/2 cups of brown rice

1 stalk celery diced

1 carrot diced

1 onion diced

1 tbslp olive oil

3 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp allepo pepper

1 tblsp red pepper paste* or 1 diced red pepper

1 tblsp tomato paste

5 green cardamom pods

2 sticks cinammon

1/2 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate

2 tsp honey

salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

guacamole

diced fresh tomatoes in lime juice and cilantro

labne** or greek style yogurt

 

Rinse and sort then soak beans overnight covered by two inches of water. Drain and put them into a pot, cover with three inches of  fresh water, and add to this  3 cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick (no salt). Bring to a boil, skim any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce to a simmer and cook until they are just softening (not mushy)–approximately 45 minutes.

In a separate pot, sweat the diced vegetables in the olive oil, then add the remaining spices and pastes. Slowly cook down the vegetables and spices until softened. To this add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and beans. Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes until the rice is cooked and beans fully softened. Add honey and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Remove remaining cardamom pods and cinnamon before serving.)

Garnish with guacamole, diced tomatoes and a dollop of labne or greek style yogurt.

 

*Can be found at Middle Eastern Specialty stores.