Friday, January 02, 2015

Cranberry Beans with Mekong Flower Rice-Broccoli (No Added Fat)

Happy New Year! We went out for dinner the last two nights of 2014, one night for a party and the other to celebrate First Night. Traditionally in the South, black eyed peas are prepared on New Year's Day, and I was planning on it, but while I was shopping for food, my wife ate with my hungry daughter, so I didn't sit down before a single dinner, but nibbled several times in the evening, enjoying some bean and avocado tacos, fresh bread, fruits, and vegetables.

For this second day of the year, I realized that it has been a while since I've cooked with cranberry beans. I love their color but, even more, their creamy and satisfying flavor and how their fiber nicely fills one up. This past October, I got good results with soaking the beans overnight and then cooking for 23 minutes at high pressure, but a few weeks later I made a soup without having soaked the beans - 28 minutes wasn't enough time.

Today, I had about five hours to soak the beans. It wasn't overnight, so I used ample boiling water and used the Instant Pot's convenient "Bean" button which cooks for 30 minutes. I was going to make a dish that included other ingredients, but the beans were so tasty that I served them simply with salt.

So the beans were quite simple - I took about a cup of dry cranberry beans and soaked them in perhaps 3 or 4 cups of boiling water for about 5 hours. I was out but had my wife drain the beans then add water (I asked to just cover but she ended up adding what looked like a cup or two of water) and a vegan bouillon cube, then cook on high pressure for 30m. When I was ready to serve, I slowly released remaining pressure, mixed in a bit of salt, and served.

I used a new (to me) rice tonight, organic brown Mekong Flower rice that cooks in a 1 : 1 3/4 rice : water ratio in a 30m simmer. As the distributor describes, the rice is grown in small plots and called "Phka Malis in Khmer, which means beautiful garland of flowers, because of its delicate floral aroma." It is also called Cambodian Jasmine rice. Jasmine rices are relatively high in the glycemic scale. Here is how I made the rice:

  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes (it was a bit less than half of my medium onion that I used)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli stalk cut into 1/4" cubes (it was about 1 1/2" of the stalk that I used)
  • 1/2 cup brown Mekong Flower rice
  • 1 1/4 cups water (1 3/4 times 1/2 cup would be 7/8 cup)
  • 3 cups broccoli, floret and stalk, cut into approximately 3/4" slices (each floret and its small stalk was about 1/2 cup)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 t salt
  1. I put the onion into my small Saladmaster stainless stock pan and sautéed on medium heat with no added fat for about 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, till the onion was clear.
  2. I then added the 1/2 cup broccoli stalk and stirred for almost a minute.
  3. I added the rest of the ingredients (I used more water than the ratio called for as the broccoli chunks seemed to "want" to float in more water :-) ), brought to a boil, and cooked for 30m, covered, at a low simmer.

The beans were indeed good. My wife had some hot sauce with them, but I liked them just as they were. Yum! The rice had a nice aroma and a bit of a sweetness. I would like this rice on occasion, but my wife seemed to like it enough to have it semi-regularly. The broccoli went great with the rice.

Ideas for the future

Garlic as well as a little bit of wine cooked into the rice could have been nice. Just a little bit of some herbs like tarragon or cumin could have been good in the beans.

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