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1.6.15 Black Beans and Rice Bowl with Crispy Plantains

1.6.15 Black Beans and Rice Bowl with Crispy Plantains

Welcome to 2015! It’s been a few busy weeks, filled with holidays, traveling, family and friends. Throughout it all, I must admit I’ve been hard pressed to find time to do anything, let alone cook. But at last, I think I can safely say that we’ve made it through the holiday craziness, and can once again begin the process returning to our normal routines. While 2014 was definitely one delicious year, I feel pretty sure that 2015 is going to be pretty darn tasty as well. Especially when it starts out with something as delicious as this.

As a kid, black beans and rice was a meal my mum would make on a fairly regular basis. It’s easy to make, and was one of a handful of meals that my often picky siblings and I would eat without complaint, usually in some sort of delicious burrito form with salsa and cheese. In college, I realized that besides being delicious, black beans and rice was wonderfully inexpensive to make, so it became a frequent college staple as well.

Nowadays, I still get a craving for some good old bb&r every once and a while. Of course, these days, I tend to jazz things up a little. I give the beans a little Cuban spin with some sofrito ( a fancy word for the pure delightfulness that results from cooking down onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and spices into a big gooey mess) and top everything with a generous helping of crispy plantains. And not just any plantains, but sweet and smokey plantains tossed with a sprinkle of ancho chile and spoonful of warm honey. Finish it all with some fresh cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of lime, and you’ve got yourself one classy bowl of black beans and rice.

Black Beans and Rice Bowl with Crispy Plantains

serves about 3

black beans:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 large poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice


  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large ripe plantain, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 tsp honey


  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced avocado
  • hot sauce
  • lime wedges

1. Start the beans. Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the chopped poblano pepper, and continue to cook until vegetable are just beginning to soften, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and cilantro, and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes are very soft, another 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the black beans, water, and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook until liquid is mostly reduced. Season to taste with additional salt if needed.

5. While beans are cooking, heat 3 Tbsp canola oil in a large, high sided skillet. Once oil is very hot, add the plantain slices to the oil. Plantains should be in a single layer, and not touching. You will likely have to cook plantains in two batches.

6. Fry plantains until the bottoms turn a nice caramelized brown, then flip and repeat on the other side. If your oil is nice and hot, this should only take a few minutes per side. Keep a close watch - plantains have lots of sugars and can quickly go from caramelized brown to burnt black if you aren’t careful. Place fried plantains on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil, and repeat process with remaining plantains until all have been fried.

7. Toss fried plantains in a bowl with the salt and chile powder. Heat honey until very liquid (about 15-20 seconds in the microwave). Pour the warm honey over top and continue to mix until plantains are evenly coated.

8. To serve, divide rice, beans, and plantains evenly between bowls. Top with fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, and hot sauce if desired. Serve with fresh lime wedges, and an ice cold beer.

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