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.
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
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.
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.
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.