This is one of my proudest recipes: cooked completely off the top of my head on a whim, using what I had on hand. And it’s one of my favorites now too. It’s hearty, it’s comforting, it’s nutritious. Not to mention, it’s really simple, doesn’t require many ingredients, and ingredients can be easily substituted (a quarantine must!): instead of the kale you could try collards, chard or other greens, and you could use black beans instead of red kidney beans.
I never found a Jamaican red beans and rice recipe I really liked, but I knew I could find one someday because I’ve loved it in restaurants before… all it took was randomly combining things myself! And the best part is, this was the perfect way to use up kale from my garden that had gotten really big. This recipe really made the kale shine!
Now my Caribbean beans have some competition for my favorite bean recipe.
- 1 cup white long-grain rice (or brown rice, but add an extra cup of water)
- 1 can of coconut milk, with 1/2c of it set aside
- 1 cup water
- 2 cans red kidney beans, drained
- 1 medium-large onion, chopped
- 5 cloves minced garlic, 2 cloves set aside
- 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
- 2 tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
- 1 tsp chick’n bouillon (or veggie bouillon)*
- Salt and pepper to taste
*You can also sub chickenless seasoning or other umami seasoning, but you probably won’t need a whole teaspoon of it if you do.
- Make the rice: add the rice, water, and 1/2c of coconut milk to a rice cooker and start it. (Or make it using your preferred method, but substituting 1/2c coconut milk for 1/2c water)
- Add the onion to a pot over medium heat and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and saute 3 more minutes. Add water or oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
- Add the beans, the rest of the can of coconut milk, Jamaican spice mix, and chick’n bouillon to the pot. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the beans are simmering, prepare the kale: add the chopped kale, 2 cloves minced garlic, a splash of water or oil, and 1/4 tsp salt to a pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Taste it and add more salt if needed–it should be a bit too salty to want to eat it on its own. (But that’s what makes it extra amazing in the beans!)
- After the beans have simmered for 10 minutes, smash some of them in the pot with the back of a wooden spoon. You want about half of them to be whole beans, half broken/smashed.
- Continue simmering until the beans are tender and melt in your mouth, about 5-10 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, erring on the side of undersalted. Add broth if they have dried out too much; you want them to be a similar consistency to the pictures here. Then stir in the kale.
- Serve with coconut rice, and top with additional sauteed kale if you have extra! (The more, the better, honestly.)