By Larry Levine –

After my quadruple coronary bypass surgery on July 4, 2008, doctors told me I need to be on a low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium diet the rest of my life. Once I got over the fear that this would mean eating cardboard forevermore, I set about adapting old recipes and creating new ones to meet the restrictions but still be tasty and worth eating. While I was recovering at home my friends Tracey Poirier and Samantha Stevens brought me a gift basket that included two cans of black beans with no salt added. I didn’t know there was such a thing. But I was delighted. Here’s the recipe I created for a new dish based on the inspiration that came from that can of beans.

2 chicken thighs – skinless, fat trimmed, with the bone in
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 15-oz can of no-salt-added black beans (or prepare them yourself from dried beans)
½ cup uncooked flavorful rice medley
1 cup water
¾ Tblsp Creole or Santa Fe spice mixture
½ onion – diced coarsely
1 large tomato – diced
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the chicken with olive oil. Rub the cumin onto both sides of the chicken. Put the chicken on a rack and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and bake for 10 more minutes. I find the chicken cooks better and tastes better if you leave the bone in. Jennifer and I also prefer chicken thighs to the breast. If you prefer the breast, go ahead and use that instead. 

Heat the black beans in a sauce pan.

Put the water and the rice in another sauce pan, cover, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, let simmer, according to package directions – about 15 minutes – unit all water is gone.  

Stir the spice mixture into the beans. Mix the cooked rice into the beans. Mix the raw onion into the beans and rice.

To serve center the chicken on a plate, spoon the rice and beans mixture over the chicken and top with the diced tomato. 

Serves 2

For the rice I like something called RiceSelect Royal Blend by Rice Tec Inc. It’s a mixture of Texmati White, Brown, Wild and Red Rice. Anything along the same lines probably would work as well.

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