Rice & Beans

Small White Beans over Harissa- and Smoked Paprika-cooked Rice with Scallions

Rice and beans are a staple in a number of different cultural cuisines. The best of them make the dish as a main dish, and not just as a side to a featured protein.

I enjoy almost all iterations of rice and beans — white rice and red beans, red rice and red beans, red rice and black beans, white rice and black beans. One version I' don't remember coming across is red rice and white beans, so some rice was steamed with smoked paprika and harissa — for good spicy, smoke, heat, and plenty of earthy depth — and was topped with slowly cooked white beans flavored with just a little bit of scallion, garlic, and white pepper.

It was a fun, tasty twist having the rice bring the heat and powerful flavor while the beans countered with understated, savory mellowness. And the all too familiar textures bring me right back to the very best of rice and beans dishes, usually enjoyed at a friend's or family member's dining table. Rice and beans this good always take me "home" — whether it's mine or someone else's.