CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Beans, Ham And Rice

Beans and rice dishes are a staple in many cuisines around the world but no more so than in Latin American countries, where they are commonly eaten as everyday lunch. If you are looking for something that is easy to make and is nutritious, the beans-and-rice combo is perfect.

Both beans and rice are a source of protein, iron and fiber. In fact, 1 cup of white rice and beans has 10 grams of fiber. Rice is also rich in starch, an excellent source of energy.

I’ve always been a fan of beans, no matter how they are prepared. I love baked beans, and beans in chili is a must for me. I also have several soup recipes that contain beans.

The following recipe, which features rice, three kinds of beans, plus tomatoes and ham, makes a quick and tasty stovetop meal. A touch of Cajun/Creole seasoning and some hot pepper sauce adds a bit of spice to the mix.

I don’t know you would classify this cuisine. All I know is it’s YUMMY!

Beans, Ham and Rice
1 15-ounce can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can white beans (pinto or great northern), rinsed and drained
2 14½-ounce cans spicy stewed tomatoes
2 cups fully cooked ham, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 to 5 dashes hot pepper sauce
1 cup rice, uncooked
In large Dutch oven, saute onion, garlic and celery until translucent. Add the remaining ingredients except rice and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
While the bean and ham mixture is cooking, place rice and water in small saucepan over low to medium heat. Cook until rice is tender. Add to beans and ham, stirring until well-mixed.

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