Serious Eats

Dinner Tonight: Black Beans and Rice With Bacon

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

A bowl of black beans and rice is pure comfort food, at least for me. It was one of the first dishes I attempted to make in college, though I should point out that it usually entailed nothing more than opening a can of beans, mixing in some rice, and calling it a day. I've progressed beyond that point, but I'm always looking for new tricks, because while the concept sounds simple, it's surprisingly easy to end up with a batch that is dry and flavorless.

The easiest way to add flavor is to toss in something meaty, but add too much and you'll risk making things greasy. It's a balancing act. Bacon carries most of the load here, but it gets some help from some chicken stock, which lends a savory edge without clobbering you over the head. I also picked up a trick from this gallo pinto rice recipe, and decided to add some Worcestershire sauce. From there, I focused on the one element that usually gets forgotten—acid. For this recipe, I used some apple cider vinegar, which helps cut through everything else.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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