By Amanda Cortens (@PeppersPennies)
WINNIPEG, Man — What’s your favourite go-to meal? I prefer to keep a well-stocked pantry that allows me to cook a meal without much prior planning. That means stocking up on non-perishables such as pulses, spices and canned goods when I find a good deal. A great meal to make from pantry staples is Rice and Beans. There is a reason why many cultures around the world consider this dish to be a staple! It’s budget friendly, requires no planning and provides a complete, flavourful meal in under a half hour!
In cooking, it is important to focus as much on technique as it is on correct measurements and ingredients used. In this Rice and Beans dish, the key to maximum flavour is toasting your spices with the dry rice. Not only does toasting help layer the flavours, it allows your spices to return to their former glory. Spices lose intensity as they age and that doesn’t do your dish any favours! Toasting the cumin and chili powder in this recipes takes minimal effort, but truly makes a difference in the final product. Just be careful not to burn the mixture! Toast over medium heat and stir constantly.
Rice and Beans is also a highly customizable dish. A simple way to jazz-up this affordable meal is to play around with types of broth used. While my version calls for vegetable broth; chicken or beef can be substituted and will both lend a slightly different flavour to your dish. Have fun with toppings and break-out different hot sauces, citrus or herbs to make this pantry meal suit your tastes and budget!