In summer, thoughts of rice, beans and chorizo turn cold to a zesty salad

June 22, 1994|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Rice, beans and chorizo usually add up to a delicious, long-simmering stew or soup. However, the mix is also great served cold as a salad.

As curious as it sounds, Rice, Bean and Chorizo Salad is a great dish. First of all, it transforms leftovers. Extra cooked rice, a half can of beans or bits of vegetables get a great makeover in this recipe. It's also relatively fast. For those who want a dish bursting with flavor but don't have two hours to cook it, this is the answer. It's convenient now when salad ingredients aren't abundant, as well as during the summer when it can be packed for picnics.

The base of this salad is chorizo, the fiery Mexican sausage. Other uncooked spicy sausage, crumbled into small pieces, can be substituted. Thekey to success when using sausage is to cook it thoroughly and drain it completely before mixing it into the other ingredients. Otherwise, it will be greasy and unpalatable.

Chorizo's burning aftertaste might come as a surprise in a salad, and the best way to extinguish the heat is with a cucumber and sour cream salad.

Rice, Bean and Chorizo Salad

Makes 2 servings

1/2 pound chorizo

1/2 cup converted rice

1 cup water

1 cup cooked black beans (rinsed if canned)

1 small sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt, freshly ground white pepper

Break chorizo into small pieces and place in medium pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Scoop out meat with slotted spoon onto paper towel-lined plate to drain completely, then place in salad bowl.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat in pan. Add rice and saute 2 minutes. Add water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, add black beans to chorizo along with sweet red pepper, cilantro and green onions. Add rice when tepid.

Stir together vinegar and oil in cup. Pour over rice mixture and toss gently but well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cucumber Salad

Makes 2 servings

1 (8-inch) cucumber

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped arugula

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

white pepper (to taste)

Peel and trim cucumber. Halve lengthwise, then slice into 1/4 -inch-thick half slices. Place in bowl along with garlic, arugula and cilantro.

Stir together sour cream, salt and pepper in cup. Spoon over cucumber mixture and stir well. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

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