Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Slow Cooker Black Beans & Rice

With temperatures soaring into the triple digits this week, I cannot even fathom the thought of turning on my oven.  It is only June and we are most likely only receiving the first of many heat waves to come.  I guess I will just have to get creative with my Crockpot and other recipes that do not require the use of an oven this summer.

Last week, I found a slice of country ham in my freezer.  I think my mother might have left it in our freezer by mistake during one of her journeys to my grandfather's house in Tennessee.  This got me craving ham and beans, a typical Southern comfort dish we would often eat at my grandparents' house because it is cheap and easy to throw together.  Country ham is typically very salty and contains a little bit of extra fat; however, the fat can be trimmed and there is no need for any additional salt. I've made some modifications to this traditional recipe by adding kale and substituting white beans for black beans.  What to do with all of left-overs since I told you to buy four cans of black beans in the menu post this week?  To answer your question, I am not crazy!  I plan to make two meals from this recipe; black beans with rice and black bean tostadas.  This recipe is cheap, easy to throw together, and will provide you with two different dishes for the week.  You can't beat that!

Slow Cooker Black Beans & Rice

4 cans black beans, drained
1 slice country ham, trimmed of excess fat and chopped
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 bag cleaned and cut kale
4 cups cooked brown rice

Place the black beans, ham, water, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and bay leaves in a slow cooker.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 5-6 hours.   Add the kale and continue cooking and occasionally stirring for another hour or until the kale is cooked down and softened.  Serve over rice.  To freshen the dish up a bit, you can garnish with green onions, Tabasco sauce, and a squirt of fresh lime juice.

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