Brown Rice and Heirloom Beans with Caramelized Leeks and Red Pepper Deglazed with Espresso Balsamic Vinegar (how’s that for a long name?)

March 23, 2013

After a many-week delay, here’s the recipe for the dish I made with beans, rice, leeks, pepper, and espresso balsamic vinegar during my Week of Eating Real Food. I didn’t actually have a specific plan (or any plan, for that matter) when I started making this dish, but I wanted to use some of the heirloom beans and brown rice I’d cooked ahead of time, and I’d bought some leeks and red pepper for the week, so I just went with it.

As an aside, I’ve really become enamored of leeks over the past several years. I love using them as an alternative to onions, and sometime last year discovered that they are absolutely outstanding caramelized. Their only shortcoming in my mind is that they are the dirtiest little vegetables I’ve ever worked with. While cleaning them you’d almost swear that the dirt was playing a game of hide-and-seek. But rest assured, they are worth the extra cleaning annoyance.

What I do to prepare them is chop the top (all the thick green part) and root ends off, then rinse them, taking the layers at the top end and sort of bending them back a little under the water, since this is where the dirt hides. If you have a particularly dirty leek, you may have to pull back an inch or so to rinse out all the dirt – and it can be hiding between every single layer. (This always makes me happy that I buy organic vegetables whenever I can – I feel much better knowing that this dirt is from an organic farm rather than one that uses chemical pesticides). To chop them, I cut them in half lengthwise, remove the inner ‘core’ (about 1/2 the layers), cut the outer parts lengthwise again, and then slice the cores and outer parts into 1/2 inch pieces.

Trimmed Leeks

Trimmed Leeks

So back to the dish. I decided to caramelize the leeks and pepper, but when it came time to start deglazing the pan, instead of just using normal balsamic vinegar, I decided I’d try my much-adored Espresso Balsamic Vinegar from Oliverde. I was a little uncertain how it would turn out, but it was actually quite good!

If you’re pressed for time, you could easily use canned beans and quick-cooking rice for this.

Brown Rice and Heirloom Beans with Caramelized Leeks and Red Pepper Deglazed with Espresso Balsamic Vinegar
serves 2-4

1+1/2 c cooked beans (I used Spanish Tolosna beans*)
1+1/2 c cooked brown rice
1 tsp olive oil
2 lg or 3 med leeks, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
vegetable (or chicken) stock
espresso balsamic vinegar **
salt to taste

* Good substitutes would be cranberry, red kidney, pinto, or azuki beans.
** You can use a good quality balsamic vinegar if you don’t have espresso balsamic

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, then add the leeks and peppers.

Leeks and Peppers Before Caramelization

Leeks and Peppers Before Caramelization

Cook until the leeks and peppers become very soft, deglazing the pan whenever the vegetables start to stick, alternating between using 1 tsp of espresso balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp of stock.

Caramelized Leeks and Pepper

Caramelized Leeks and Pepper

Add the brown rice, the beans, 2 Tbsp of stock and combine well. Taste and add salt and/or more vinegar to your taste. Continue to cook just until everything is heated through.

Brown Rice and Heirloom Beans with Caramelized Leeks and Pepper Deglazed with Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

Brown Rice and Heirloom Beans with Caramelized Leeks and Red Pepper Deglazed with Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

Advertisements

Feel free to comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: