This dish can be made using the traditional red beans or it can be made with kidney or for an entirely different taste with pinto beans.
Additionally, browned ground beef, browned ground pork sausage, or cut up sausage links or summer sausage can be added if desired.
Use caution when preparing the habanero (or any other spicy hot peppers). Wear gloves if desired or simply be sure to wash hands very well after handling and until you have washed do not touch any other parts of your body — particularly the face and eyes — nor should you try using the bathroom — prior to a very, very thorough hand washing beforehand.
If unable to obtain a habanero pepper then a fresh jalapeno or other spicy hot pepper may be substituted. For an additional spicy to super spicy hot kick some or all of the seeds may be left in if desired.
The same recipe may also be altered a bit and used to make South-Western Black Beans by adding 2 cups of thawed frozen or fresh whole kernel sweet corn in place of the rice. Cook the corn (shucked and sliced off of the cob if fresh) in the broth with 2 Tbsp. butter and 1/2 tsp. salt added to the broth (or can just use water in this case if prefer) and toss with an additional 2 Tbsp. of butter after draining. Omit the celery, rice, and the spinach or greens. If desired, may double the bell peppers.
Beans and Rice
1 pound dried red, kidney, or pinto beans
7 cups cold tap water
1 cup hot water — plus additional as needed
2 to 4 slices of pork bacon
1 large onion, chopped (may use white, yellow, or red/purple)
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 to 1-1/2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 to 2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small habanero pepper, seeded and chopped
2 to 3 small garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
1/2 cup torn spinach leaves or cut greens, stems removed and de-veined
1-1/2 cups uncooked rice (may use wild, white, yellow, or brown)
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
The day before:
Cook rice in chicken broth with 1/2 teaspoon salt. When done toss with butter until butter melted and rice coated. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate covered.
Separate beans on table or counter and remove any pebbles, dirt clods, or unsightly beans.
Rinse and drain the beans then cover in fresh water to soak over night.
Drain then rinse the beans, repeat once to twice more.
Place a large 8-quart or bigger stockpot with the bacon on medium heat. Fry bacon to release grease but do not brown.
The bacon may be left whole or chopped if desired prior to frying. Leave the bacon in the pan, do not remove, adding more of the traditional South-West and Southern flavor to the beans as they cook.
Do not substitute turkey bacon as it lacks the required grease OR if must use due to health conditions such as heart disease and hyper-lipidemia (high cholesterol) then also add 3 to 4 Tbsp. oil. Alternately, you may decrease the amount of pork bacon to only one or even a half slice or may substitute diced lean cuts of pork or a ham bone if dietary restrictions allow plus a subtle flavored oil. Avoid using olive oil or other strongly flavored oils. Use an oil with a more subtle flavor such as canola, safflower, sunflower, or vegetable oil.
Add 7 cups water, the beans, and all of the ingredients — except the cold rice and spinach or greens. Stir.
Bring to a strong boil on medium-high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a low steady boil and cook about 2-1/2 to 3-3/4 hours, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
If required, add additional 1/2 to 1 cup of HOT water as needed. Use boiling water since cold water will alter the temperature and increase the total cook time needed. Whenever cooking something that might require additional water it helps save time — having to bring a dish back up to a full boil then adjusting again to a simmer before continuing to time it — by just keeping a kettle of water going.
When the beans are tender, stir in the spinach or greens. Simmer until wilted.
Stir in the cold rice and the cup of hot water and continue to simmer on low to a low-moderate heat until the spinach or greens are nicely wilted and tender, the rice is heated through, and the juices have thickened — about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour (30 to 45 minutes).
Remove from the heat, taste, and season if needed with additional salt and pepper.
Serve with buttered cornbread.
If desired may also serve with coleslaw and/or fried okra as well as choice of fried chicken, crawfish, frog legs, or fried catfish.
Have a bottle of hot sauce (i.e. Tabasco, habanera, jalapeno, cayenne, or Tiger sauce) nearby to be added individually to single servings as desired.
To use an electric pressure cooker, add everything except rice and spinach or greens and follow manufacturer’s directions for adding recommended quantity of water, to cook, and for venting the beans.
When done stir in already cooked rice, additional water or broth if required, and spinach or greens and cook for an additional 10 minutes on rice or grain/cereal setting, naturally vent for 5 minutes then quick vent (or as directed by manufacturer).
You will require a very large 8 quart or larger pot — or will need to cut the recipe in half to use a 6 quart pot.
If desired, may add rice uncooked with broth, adjusting the amount of broth needed (some is needed for flavor but less liquid is needed with this type of cooking plus the beans also have liquid remaining), and follow manufacturer’s directions for cooking rice.
I cooked my beans in a combination of 3/4 cup broth and made up the rest in water as recommended for 1 lb. of beans — and when done I added the rice uncooked with another half cup of broth and spinach or greens and hit the rice button to cook the rice as would if just cooking rice, vented naturally for 5 minutes then finished by venting manually.
I wasn’t super impressed with the taste or the consistency of the broth on the first day, but the second day after only reheating on the stove top they tasted just as good as when slow cooked on the stove top for several hours and the broth had thickened to the normally expected amount of thickness just sitting overnight in the refrigerator.