Yellow Rice and Spicy Black Beans

  • Yield 4 to 6 servings

Latin-style yellow rice is a bed for the steaming, spicy black beans, garnished with chopped avocados, scallions and cilantro. I have lived on this dish for weeks and felt lucky about it.


Yellow Rice:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon saffron or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups uncooked white basmati rice
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 cups water or vegetable broth
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Spicy Black Beans:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced or 1 canned chili in adobo, minced*, optional
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
2 (19-ounce) cans black beans with the liquid
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Toppings and Garnishes:
2 to 3 avocados, pitted and chopped
4 to 8 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  1. To make rice: Heat oil in a heavy saucepan with tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and saffron and saute 1 minute. Add rice and thyme sprigs or dried thyme and stir well, 1 minute, until rice is yellow. Add water or broth, stir well and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer, covered tightly, 35 minutes until rice is tender and cooked through. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper.
  2. To make beans: Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonreactive medium saucepan over high heat. Saute bell peppers, jalapenos, if using, and tomatoes 2 minutes. Add beans with liquid and orange juice, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 35 minutes. Add cilantro, lime and salt.
  3. To garnish: Make a nest of rice. Top with black beans and for each person, sprinkle with 1/2 chopped ripe avocados, 2 minced scallions and a good pinch of chopped cilantro.



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