>Hearty Tomato Beans and Rice

by Ms. Joy

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As the summer months recede and the weather cools I feel drawn to savoury, warm meals that help stave of the chill that will only grow stronger in the coming months. Nova Scotia has a funny habit of wholeheartedly embracing each new season, roasting us in the summer and the only inkling you’ll have that autumn is on its way are the cool nights. September, with the beginning of school would always bring jackets that were fine as long as you weren’t moving but just a bit of running on the playground caused you to heat up, aggravated by the jacket. This is the perfect meal for this transitional time, it takes little energy throughout the day because it is prepared in a slow cooker but it’s hearty and warm enough to get you through the night.

The adzuki beans, also known as azuki beans, are a smaller bean with a subtle nutty flavour that are most familiar in the form of red bean paste in various dim sum dishes. I originally hunted down these beans to make one of my favourite treats, red bean steam buns, but since I never got around to it I used a cup for this dish. If you plan on using dried beans, be aware that one cup of dried beans equals three cups of rehydrated beans so I’d be careful about going overboard. I always have the best of intentions when I buy my big bag of (cheap) dried beans; I am also woefully spontaneous and whenever I want to cook beans I am in need of them immediately. There is an obvious problem with these conflicting aspects of my personality. To quickly rehydrate beans, as opposed to that dreadfully slow process of allowing them to sit overnight in a bowl of water, bring beans (at a ratio of 1 to 4) to a boil for 2 minutes then lightly simmer for 1.5 hours.
The Recipe
1 cup dried adzuki beans – 3 cups cooked
1 cup dried soldier beans – 3 cups cooked
1 cup brown rice
1 onion, coarse chopped
2 tomatoes, coarse chopped
2 cups chicken stock
6 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
S & P to taste
1. Rehydrate the beans (or cook if you are like me). It is not advisable to put the dry beans into the slow cooker because they simply won’t cook in time.
2. Layer the rice, onions, tomatoes and beans in the crockpot. Top with the chicken stock and water. I like to reserve the spices and such until near the end of the cooking time. Cook on high for 4 hours.
3. Add the sugar, spices and soy sauce and mix it up.
4. Serve with a dollop with plain yogurt (the weird glob in the picture above). Enjoy!
The spices and sugar are, as always definitely to taste. The amount I added originally was perfect for me but when Mr. came home from work he added a touch more sugar and salt to his bowl.
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