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Calypso Rice and Red BeansThis is a wonderfully flavored rice, with the beans cooked with the rice.  It’s pretty AND it’s delicious…win-win!  If you’re vegetarian, this can be a main course, but I like to serve it with Jerked Chicken.  This is loaded with flavor.  Tons of it.  The beans are a really nice addition, invoking the islands.  They add a nice little bit of extra texture, too.  Sometimes I use coconut milk.  Sometimes I don’t.  The coconut milk adds creaminess to the rice.

It is more traditional to use a Scotch Bonnet pepper, than the red pepper flakes.   But, I find the risk of breaking into the chile isn’t worth it, because if you rupture the pepper and rice can end up being inedibly spicy.

Calypso Rice and Red BeansThis goes together easily and quickly.  Stir the onions, garlic, herbs and spices, along with the rice, in the olive oil.  Calypso Rice and Red BeansAdd the bay leaves, broth (both liquid and powdered) and coconut milk.  Calypso Rice and Red BeansBring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is almost level with the rice and little volcanoes form.  It is imperative that you stir the rice frequently.  Because of the coconut milk, it has a tendency to stick and can burn.  Personally, I like to let it just stick “slightly”, as it adds a lovely little bit of texture.  Pull the pan from the heat source, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Calypso Rice and Red BeansRemove the lid, add the beans and scallions; recover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Calypso Rice and Red BeansCarefully stir in the beans and scallions.  Add the cilantro (or mint), if using; fluff.  Serve.  This is wonderful with What a Jerk Chicken! and Plantain Chip-Crusted Fish Fillets with Curry Sauce, or Island Spiced Pork Roast with Orange-Guava-Beer and Onion Sauce.  The rice also reheats well…I almost think the flavor is better, more nuanced.

Calypso Rice and Red Beans

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice (converted rice works well)
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can (1 3/4 cups) coconut milk (I use the lower-fat version)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken (or vegetable) bouillon powder or paste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and well-drained
  • 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced (include some of the green part)
  • Chopped cilantro (or culantro) or mint, to taste

If using non-converted rice, wash rice until water runs clear. Drain well.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add onions and garlic; sauté for about a minute.  Stir in the rice, until the rice is coated with oil.  Add the spices; stir well for 30-60 seconds.  Add the coconut milk, bay leaves, broth, bouillon powder, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat.  Stir several times during the cooking process, as the rice has a tendency to stick (when using the coconut milk).  Cook just until the liquid is reduced to the top of the level of the rice and little “volcanoes” form.  Pull the pot off the heat, drop the beans on top of the rice and pop the cover on.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Remove the lid, stir in the beans; add the scallions and fresh herbs.  Fluff the rice.  The rice should be tender and on the dry side.  If too moist, place the pot on the burner for 30 seconds (for gas, 1 minute for electric stove).  Discard bay leaves.  Serve.

NOTE:  You may substitute 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning for the thyme, smoked paprika and chili powder.

Calypso Rice and Red Beans Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018.  All rights reserved.