Forbidden Black Rice & Herbed White Beans with Seared Mushrooms, Fried Sage & Black Truffle Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Asian markets & birthdays.  On the surface – not much in common.  But, for me this year – both offered much culinary inspiration.  The Asian markets (often posted about here on my blog) are a wonderland of exotic ingredients, not all of which are exactly appetizing – like these giant water bugs available at Bangluck Market:

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but there are lots of other delicious things there – like this black rice:

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Four pounds for $11.  Not bad!

And my birthday netted me a pasta cutter & two new Cuisinart food processors & this array of exotic ingredients:

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including this incredible bottle of wine

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and this gorgeous little bottle of truffle oil!

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So – black rice in hand and bottle of truffle oil demanding to be tried – I looked up rice recipes.  Nothing struck me.  “Black rice & beans” most brought up images of black beans & white rice & I thought – why not make black rice with white beans?  I couldn’t find a recipe where anyone was doing what I envisioned so – I made this up.  The white beans are adapted from this recipe HERE.  Look how pretty theirs were.

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And they were perfect because they are truly white – the contrast I needed for the very inky, black rice.

I kinda made up the rice & the mushroom-sage topper.  The mushroom sage thing is a nice touch (I LOVE fried sage) but not necessary.  You could serve the rice and beans plain or with another topper – corn or peas – or with a veggie side – like I did last night – my Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots.

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Nothing in this dish is difficult to execute.  If you don’t have fancy food rings to create a dramatic presentation, maybe use a ramekin or other bowl.   Or you could just do the traditional rice & beans serving – create a mound of rice in a bowl & then a moat made of beans – or a ring of rice with the beans center stage.  A sprig of rosemary or thyme on top & you have a gorgeous presentation.

This rice is sometimes called Forbidden Rice and here is a little info about its history & nutritional benefits.  In ancient China, black rice was considered the finest grain and only served to the Emperor, therefore, “forbidden rice,” as it was off limits for the general public.

Anyway – like the mushroom-sage topper, the black truffle oil is also unnecessary but an amazing & delicate addition to this recipe of subtle flavors.  If you can swing the cost – a small amount goes a LONG way.

Also – this will make a lot of beans – maybe more than you really need.  I quick soaked a single cup of beans & then added them to a pound of dry unsoaked beans – hence the two tone nature of the beans in my images.

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Oh – and look at this cool photo my camera took on its own!  I don’t know why – but I kinda like it.

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Lastly – this could easily be made without the cheese rind for a vegan option.

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Forbidden Black Rice & Herbed White Beans with Seared Mushrooms, Fried Sage & Black Truffle Oil

INGREDIENTS

For the mushroom & sage topper

Black truffle oil to drizzle (optional)

1 TBS butter

2 TBS olive oil

10-15 sage leaves

4 garlic cloves – minced

10-15 mushrooms – sliced

For the herbed white beans

1 lb dry small white beans

8 cloves garlic

4 sprigs rosemary (or more)

4 sprigs thyme (or more)

the rind of a hunk of Parmesan – or other form of Parmesan

Salt to taste

For the black rice

2 cups black rice

4 cups stock

1 TBS olive oil

5 garlic cloves – minced

Zest & juice of a lemon

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

For the herbed white beans

With kitchen string – tie up the rosemary & thyme into a bundle.

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Heat your oven to 400.

Quick soak the beans by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  Add beans – bring back to a boil.  Remove from heat & let the beans soak, covered, for one hour.  Drain & rinse them.

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Put all the ingredients for the beans into a large dutch oven or covered casserole.  Cover with fresh water that comes about an inch over the beans.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Stir the bean & bake another 45 minutes.  The cheese rind & garlic should begin to break down.  Test the doneness of the beans & cook them in 15 minute increments.    They should be very tender in about 2 hours but your results might vary a bit – so check them after 90 minutes.  If they get too thick – add more water.  If the cheese & garlic do not break down completely, you can either blend them with a hand mixer (immersion blender) or fish them out & blend with a small amount of beans in a food processor.  I used a wooden spoon to mash some of my beans to create a thicker creamier dish.

When the beans are done – remove the herb bundle & add salt to taste.

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For the black rice

Heat the olive oil in a lark stock pan.  Saute the garlic about thirty seconds.  Add the rice & the lemon juice & zest.  Stir to coat all the rice with oil.  Add 4 cups of stock & bring to a boil.  Cook as per package directions or reduce heat to low & cook, covered, about 45-60 minutes – checking after 45 minutes for doneness.

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For the mushroom & sage topper

Heat ONE TBS of the oil oil with the butter.  Fry the sage leaves for about a minute.  Drain on a paper towel.

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Add the other TBS of olive oil & add the garlic.  Saute one minute then add the mushrooms.  Cook on high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown.  Remove from heat.

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Assemble the rice & beans as you will & then top with a bit of the mushrooms & a few fried sage leaves.  Drizzle with truffle oil.  Devour.

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