THIS COMMUNITY COOKING
Nancy Pricer, a 31-year-old Hood County resident, enjoys sharing recipes with backstories. Send your favorite recipes and a short story about them to [email protected]
My daughter-in-law doesn’t eat onions. Over the years I’ve tried to put them in recipes, but my husband always complains about me. Because I cry out loud, I can never get away with anything. Almost every entree and side I’ve made over the years always includes onions. I was convinced that food was not good without them. However, I have come to a compromise when it comes to Mexican food. I serve uncooked chopped onions on the side with chopped cilantro and lime. It is delicious and my daughter-in-law is happy with it.
I recently took the family over for Sunday dinner and made enchiladas from beef, charro beans, and Mexican rice. It was a delicious meal and received rave reviews. I made a lot and was able to send extra meals home. My grandson made sure I packed extra rice for him.
I cheated a bit with the enchiladas and just used the recipe on the can of Old El Paso red enchilada sauce, but the two side dishes below are excellent recipes in my opinion. I found the recipes online and give credit to the websites. They both have onions as an ingredient, but you don’t have to add them.
The charro bean recipe is made with unsoaked beans in a pressure cooker/instant pot, but you can probably put all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 7-9 hours or on the stove for 2-3 hours.
I warn you that the prep time takes a bit, but the great thing is that you can make everything ahead of time and reheat as needed when your guests arrive. In my case, my son and his wife have a child aged 8 and 19 months, and I don’t want food that has to be eaten at a certain time.
Plus I can just relax and enjoy their company before eating as the food is ready and stays warm.
1 pound dried pinto beans
12 ounces bacon, chopped
1 small yellow or white onion, diced (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped remove the veins if you want less heat
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Place the dried beans in a colander, rinse well and remove any dirt or shriveled beans.
Pressure cooker: Set the pressure cooker to sauté and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pressure cooker and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Drain all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or leave all the fat behind, if you prefer).
Add the onions and jalapenos to the pressure cooker and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute.
Press the keep warm/cancel button on the instant pot. Stir the beans, tomatoes with their juices, stock, water, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, oregano, bacon and coriander into the instant pot.
Close the lid and cook under high pressure for 45 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure naturally. This takes about 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt.
2 medium vine tomatoes or 4 Roma tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 onion, peeled and quartered (optional)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups long grain white rice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Lime wedges to serve with it
Set an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Puree the tomatoes and onions in a food processor or blender until smooth. Measure out 2 cups of the puree, drain and discard the excess.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or 3-quart saucepan until shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato mixture, stock or water, tomato paste, and salt to taste (I like 1 1/2 teaspoons). Bring to a boil.
Cover (or transfer to a baking dish and cover) and bake until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir halfway through the baking time.
Fluff rice with a fork. Fold in coriander or parsley (if using) and season with salt. Serve with lime wedges.
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