Beans and rice: putting it all together

DINNER TONIGHT

September 01, 2004|By Donna Pierce | Donna Pierce,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

These dinner cakes came about as a natural way of combining flavors from one of my favorite dishes, red beans and rice. But here I've used black beans instead and added a tangy yogurt sauce.

Preparing the cakes means getting your hands a bit messy. Then, it's going to feel as if the cakes will fall apart. But during their final dredge through flour, everything comes together.

Tips: Buy small cucumbers from the farmers' market. Rice can be a snap with microwaveable products that cook in less than 2 minutes. Boil-a-bag versions also can speed the process.

Black-Bean-and-Rice Cakes With Yogurt Sauce

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 25 minutes; cooking time: about 20 minutes; freezing time: 10 minutes

1 container (8 ounces) plain Greek or other yogurt

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely chopped

1 lemon, halved, one half juiced, one half cut into 6 wedges

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (divided use)

1 teaspoon salt (divided use)

1/4 cup peanut oil (divided use)

1 each, finely chopped: red bell pepper, small red onion, rib celery

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon cumin seed, toasted, crushed

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

2 eggs, beaten separately (divided use)

1 cup small, frozen peas

1 teaspoon dry mustard

freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Combine yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a food processor; puree. Transfer to a serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add red bell pepper, onion and celery; cook until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin; cook 1 minute. Set aside.

Place beans in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher or fingers until coarsely mashed. Add the red-pepper mixture, rice, 1 of the eggs, peas, mustard, remaining 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste, stirring until mixture comes together. Carefully form into 12 patties and place on a waxpaper-covered baking sheet; cover with plastic. Freeze 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place flour, bread crumbs and remaining egg in separate plates. Remove cakes from freezer; coat each in flour, then egg and end with bread crumbs. Set aside on the baking sheet.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook cakes in batches until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn with a spatula; cook 2 minutes.

Transfer to a paper towel-covered baking sheet. Place 2 cakes on each serving plate. Serve with yogurt-cucumber sauce and lemon wedges.

Per serving: 396 calories; 14 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 73 milligrams cholesterol; 54 grams carbohydrate; 15 grams protein; 763 milligrams sodium; 9 grams fiber

- Analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

Menu:

Black-Bean-and-Rice Cakes With Yogurt Sauce

Sliced tomatoes

Peach ice cream

Iced tea

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