Happy union of 3 staples

Essentials: When this trio of stock ingredients - shrimp, rice and beans - gets together, the result is a savory, hearty dinner in under a half-hour.

June 28, 2000|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

We think of stocking up on food staples as a chore for the winter. After all, who wants to go shopping in the middle of a blizzard? But we're no more interested in wasting a beautiful summer day inside a supermarket. That makes food planning a good idea year-round.

Cooks usually have a few essential ingredients they always keep on hand to complement their cooking style. My favorites are frozen shrimp, long-grain rice and canned beans. A bed of rice makes a meager chicken breast look generous, and if I only have enough chili for one, adding beans means both partners in a couples-only household eat dinner. As for shrimp, what more could I want than a thaw-and-serve seafood?

What I didn't realize is that my trio of staples adds up to a savory and hearty dinner that's ready in less than 30 minutes.

The recipe, Southwestern Shrimp Over Rice and Beans, consists of a base of rice layered with garlic-and-cumin-accented black beans and a topping of herb and spice-flavored shrimp. The effect is very attractive. What's more, it doesn't taste like emergency food.

For a warm-weather variation, cook the rice in water. Drain the beans and rinse under cold water and cook the shrimp. Toss the three together with a cumin-flavored vinaigrette dressing and a sprinkling of fresh chives or Italian parsley.

Southwestern Shrimp Over Rice and Beans

Serves 2

Rice (see recipe)

Black Beans (see recipe)

2 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 pound peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp (see note)

1/4 teaspoon hot paprika

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Prepare rice. While rice is cooking, prepare black beans.

To prepare shrimp, heat together butter and olive oil in small pan. Add shrimp, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, cumin and black pepper and cook over medium heat until shrimp turn pink, stirring frequently.

To serve, spoon rice onto serving plate, spreading out to large circle.

Spoon black beans in center and top with cooked shrimp. Sprinkle with green onions.

Note: If using frozen shrimp, there is no need to thaw. Just add 2 to 3 minutes to cooking time.


1/2 cup long-grain rice

1 cup chicken broth

Stir together rice and chicken broth in small pan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 18 minutes.

Fluff with fork.

Black Beans

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat oil in small pan. Add garlic and sautM-i 1 minute. Stir in beans and cumin and simmer 3 to 5 minutes.

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