Versatile Tropical Black Beans and Rice recipe features smoky chipotle and sweet citrus. Served with rice, and topped with fresh mango, avocado, and cilantro, the sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors play so well together, and you've got a well-balanced meal in one bowl!
Laughter is the valve on the pressure cooker of life. Either you laugh and suffer, or you got your beans or brains on the ceiling.
~~ Wavy Gravy, American entertainer and peace activist
When I decided to work on Tropical Black Beans and Rice, I immediately thought of my pressure cooker. Cooking dried beans (as opposed to using canned beans) has two distinct advantages: 1. They're cheaper than canned beans, and 2. They have a really nice texture when cooked properly that you don't get from canned. However, I realize not all my readers own pressure cookers, and/or want to take the time. Some of you may not be comfortable using a pressure cooker. Consequently, I decided to include a few different options for preparing this recipe. The cooking methods I will discuss in the post include using canned beans cooked on the stove (quickest method), dried beans cooked in the pressure cooker (fairly quick), and dried beans cooked in the slow cooker (all day).
Black beans and rice in combination form a complete protein, and for this reason, this recipe makes an excellent vegetarian meal. Black beans and rice frequently make an appearance on our table for #MeatlessMonday. Adding smoked meat (smoked turkey drumstick or smoked ham hock) is really tasty, and will definitely please the meat eater in your life. 😀 If I choose to include bone-in smoked meat, I often rely on my pressure cooker to make short work of tenderizing it and also providing me with a super flavorful stock. Another great option for the meaty variation is to use some lean smoked turkey sausage. You will want to use some chicken or vegetable stock to boost the flavor. All that being said, the chipotle powder provides the smoky flavor should you choose the vegetarian option. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the comment section at the bottom of the post or my "Contact Me" page on my website. I will typically respond within 24 hours!
Tropical Black Beans and Rice (quickest):
This version only takes about 30 minutes start to finish! Rinse and drain the black beans, start your rice, then proceed with the recipe... Add sliced smoked (turkey) sausage with the stock to maximize the flavor as it simmers.
Tropical Black Beans and Rice (smoked turkey drumstick and beans cooked in the pressure cooker):
The smoked turkey drumstick or pork hock will require about 45 minutes in the pressure cooker to become tender. Cover with water to maximum fill line. Cook according to your model's guidelines. My Pressure Cooker Pro XL yielded very tender meat and flavorful stock with about 30 minutes under pressure, and a "quick natural release." Allow the pressure cooker to sit 10-15 minutes before releasing the steam. The contents continue to cook. Remove the meat and bones from the liquid, setting it aside to cool. Reserve 1 cup of stock for the beans.
To pressure cook the beans, you can just add your 1 lb bag of dried black beans to the remaining liquid in the pressure cooker. Pressurize, and cook according to your model's guidelines for dried beans. Mine requires about 25 minutes with the "quick natural release."
Tropical Black Beans and Rice (cooked in the slow cooker):
Add the dried black beans to the slow cooker with the smoked turkey drumstick or pork hock (if using). Cover generously with water. Cook on high for about 4 hours until almost but not quite tender. Remove and bone the meat when cool. Remove all but about 1 cup of the liquid. Proceed with the recipe, allowing an additional hour on high to complete the cooking.
Pre-soaking dried black beans really is not necessary. Black beans are relatively thin-skinned, and cook almost as quickly without a pre-soak. The color and flavor are actually better than soaked and rinsed beans for obvious reasons... none of the flavor and color are going down the drain. For more on this topic, read So You Like Flavor? Don't Soak Your Black Beans!
Once your beans (and meat if using) are ready to go, the dish will come together quickly. I start a pot of basmati - my favorite long grained white rice. Use your preferred rice, ether white or brown. Get the black beans simmering, and then prep the mango, avocado, cilantro, and scallions. Black beans and rice are so versatile, I hope you'll find you enjoy this as much as we do. I frequently suggest a wine pairing, but I've yet to find a pairing I loved with beans and rice. My friend Christine Siracusa has a delightful Hot and Bubbly Margarita Recipe that sounds divine, and I'm guessing it would be lovely with Tropical Black Beans and Rice!
A Few More Variations On Beans and Rice:
Mexican Fried Rice With Chaya and Ground Pork - Beyond Mere Sustenance
Nopalitos and Red Chile Rice Bowls - Beyond Mere Sustenance
Rajma Masala - La Petit Chef
Butternut Squash Black Bean Curry - Leelalicious