If you make this meal, be sure to save all that bacon grease from cooking the bacon for the beans and rice--it was a great addition to this fabulous zucchini cornbread from Baking Bites. This is a delicious recipe and also a great way to use up the millions of zucchinis that are no doubt populating your (or your neighbor's) garden...well, one of them anyway! It's moist and slightly molasses-y, but not so sweet that it can't be enjoyed with a savory dinner.
Red Beans and Rice (original recipe from Closet Cooking is here)
Note that the brand of coconut milk I used was pretty thin...if you buy a thick coconut milk, you might want to use less coconut milk and more water, depending on how rich you'd like the final dish to be. Note also that this makes a ton, but that the leftovers are awesome--we actually managed to eat them all up, which is sometimes a struggle in our house!
6 slices of bacon (or more)
3 cups uncooked Jasmine rice
2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano peppers, tops removed and cut in half lengthwise
5 green onions, white parts and a couple inches of green, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups water
lots of salt and pepper to taste
1. Fry the bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and reserve the oil from the bacon.
2. Measure out 3 T bacon grease for the cornbread and then pour the rest into a large pot (about 1 T). Dump in the rest of the ingredients except the reserved bacon. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the rice is cooked. You may need to add more water. When everything is cooked, crumble the bacon and gently stir into the beans and rice. Taste for salt and pepper.
3. Remove the peppers (or just warn the eaters) and serve, with extra salt and pepper for those who want it.
Zucchini Cornbread (original recipe from Baking Bites is here)
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg white
2 T molasses
3 T bacon grease, slightly cooled but still liquid (or melted butter)
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: buttermilk, egg, egg white, molasses and bacon grease until smooth. Pour wet into the dry and stir just to combine. Add the zucchini and stir to evenly distribute. Pour batter into pie plate and spread evenly.