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The scoop on this recipe…
Hello and welcome! Today’s recipe is sure to be a hit for everyone in the one-pot tribe. Of recent, I have become a solid convert to one-pot cooking. The advantages of one pot cooking abound, from fewer dishes to wash and rich flavors, to simple prep and minimal baby-sitting while cooking. Soups, stews, pastas, and casseroles are just a few things that work wonderfully with the one-pot format. Usually one-pot recipes do best in heavy-duty cookware that retains and evenly distributes heat. I use my wide, shallow-depth Brazilian soapstone for most of my one-pot recipes. For lunch I made my own recipe for one pot Mexican Beans and Brown Rice. It turned out so well that I decided to share it with you!
A little back-story on my Mexican Beans & Brown Rice…
I’m always amazed by the profound association between food, emotions, and memories. My love of Mexican Rice, or Spanish Rice, dates back to my childhood. My Grandfather used to microwave pre-cooked rice in a large bowl with salsa, spaghetti sauce, whole black olives, and cheddar cheese. It was so simple, yet so good. He is one of those people who lives in his mind much of the time, contemplating the deeper questions of life, faith, and relationships. Yet even the brightest philosophers and academically minded must answer the call of hunger! To this end, Grandpa developed his own repertoire of quick DIY recipes that he could assemble without leaving a big mess behind in Grandma’s kitchen.
One day he shared his Spanish Rice concoction with me, and my taste buds lit up. His eyes knowingly sparkled, and he said something like, “That’s good stuff, isn’t it?!” INDEED. No particular memory comes to mind, but I imagine Grandpa and I shared many a bowl of his Spanish Rice while he helped me navigate the angst-laden philosophical jungle of my teenage brain. One of his gifts is lending an attentive ear and truly caring about people. Spanish Rice is one of those things that reminds me of my childhood and adolescent years with Grandpa Moon. I’m so grateful for all of the time he invested listening to me and helping me with everything from wrestling through fundamental questions of existence to my overdue math homework.
Because of this sweet memory connection, I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with the ways I can make Spanish (or Mexican) Rice. Especially since coming to Brazil, I favor these recipes that bring back memories of friends and family in the United States. It makes me feel closer to them even though we’re situated on opposite ends of the equator now.
Some things worth mentioning about this dish…
My recipe for one pot Mexican beans and brown rice is a simple, relatively healthy, vegetarian dish. With the use of cheese substitutes, this could easily be made vegan. But don’t worry, you won’t struggle to find this palatable. I switched out the traditional white rice and used brown rice instead. Black beans and cheese balance out the carbohydrate-heavy rice with protein and fat. Smoked paprika adds earthy depth to the dish while pickled red malagueta peppers infuse subtle heat. Green olives stuffed with pimento add natural saltiness. And finally, the four ingredients I’ve come to understand as the foundations of good Mineiro cooking: Garlic. Onions. Salt. Colorifico. (It’s hard to imagine myself cooking without this quartet after four years in Brazil! They really are a game changer.)
About the best cookware for preparing your one-pot Mexican beans & brown rice…
The Brazilian soapstone pot I used is my new cookware crush. So, obviously, I recommend soapstone cookware with every ounce of enthusiasm I have. Since buying this piece at the Mercado Central in June, I’ve been on a creativity streak, coming up with all sorts of new recipes. The first time I cooked with the pot, revelation struck: This was the missing piece in the puzzle of that authentic Mineiro flavor I’ve been trying to obtain in my cooking. It heats slow, retains the heat and cooks evenly much like cast iron or enameled cast iron. But it doesn’t leach iron when cooking acidic ingredients, and you won’t encounter the same difficulties with chipping or stained enamel. Soapstone is also naturally anti-bacterial. The lid is heavy, so I don’t have to worry about all my water or broth boiling out before the food is cooked.
I understand that soapstone isn’t as common outside of Brazil, so if you don’t have a soapstone pot, use a dutch oven or similarly heavy vessel with the capability to retain heat and cook evenly.
In the event that my account of falling in love with soapstone inspired you to start your own collection, you may consult the links below. There, you’ll find some quality soapstone pieces for sale.
- Shallow/wide size:
- Small/deep size:
- Pressure Cooker:
OK, let’s get to the recipe…
One Pot Mexican Beans & Brown Rice
Cook delicious Mexican rice using just one pot and simple ingredients.
- 1 Head Garlic, minced
- 1 Large Onion, diced
- 5 or 6 Red Malagueta Peppers (Pimenta Malagueta Vermelha)
- 2 Medium Green Bell Peppers, diced
- 1 Tablespoon Colorifico
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 3/4 Cup Halved Pimento-stuffed Green Olives
- 1 Cup Brown Rice, uncooked
- 1 1/2 Cups Black Beans, cooked & seasoned
- 1/4 Cup Black Quinoa, uncooked
- 2 Cups Water
- 300 Grams Tomato Sauce or Salsa
- Dollops of Cream Cheese to garnish
- Cheddar Cheese or Queijo Prato to garnish
- Dried Parsley to garnish
- Step 1 First, cut and mince the garlic, onions, bell peppers and olives. Sautee these with the salt, Malagueta peppers and oil of choice in your dutch oven or soapstone cookware. Sweat for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the colorifico and smoked paprika.
- Step 2 Next, add your black beans and brown rice. Stir intermittently for a couple of minutes, allowing the rice to toast.
- Step 3 Pour in your water and tomato sauce or salsa. Stir and cover.
- Step 4 NOTE: When using any vessel sensitive to sudden temperature changes, these ingredients should be pre-heated to avoid warping and fractures.
- Step 5 Cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is tender. Add cheese(s) & parsley and cover with the lid. Turn off the burner and allow the cheese to melt for 10 more minutes.
- Step 6 Serve and enjoy!
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