Dried beans and rice together in a dish is a staple food of many cuisines around the world. Caribbean black beans and rice (Christians and Moors), Cajun red beans and rice, Indian dals with rice, Southwestern pinto beans and rice, Japanese sweet adzuki beans and rice pudding, their names ring as poetic as they are descriptive.
For this recipe, wild rice and chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) kick up their heels in a spring fling with pea sprouts and kumquats. The dish can serve as entree for a vegetarian meal or alongside any meat or poultry main. If you would like some sauce, yogurt swirled with chopped fresh mint is a good and easy fit.
1/2 cup raw wild rice
1 cup cooked chick peas, drained
1 tablespoon butter
3 to 4 kumquats, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch wide slivers
1 cup pea sprouts
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (optional)
1. To cook the wild rice, combine the grains in a medium saucepan with 2 cups filtered water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the grains open and fluff out, about 45 minutes.
2. While the wild rice cooks, also cook the chick peas if doing so (see the footnote).
3. When ready to serve, drain the wild rice in a colander and set aside to drip dry. Drain the chick peas.
4. Melt the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the kumquat slivers and stir to mix. Combine the wild rice and chick peas in a large bowl. Transfer to the bowl with the rice and peas. Add the pea sprouts to the bowl and gently toss to mix.
A Technique Note: I am an advocate of cooking beans (which includes chick peas) in a pressure cooker. The difference in taste from even the best organic, honest-and-true canned offerings is noticeable. With a pressure cooker, there’s no soaking required, and the beans turn tender in 40 to 50 minutes! Just place them in the pot, add filtered water to cover by 1 1/2 inches or so, and 1/2 teaspoon or so salt, lock on the lid, and bring to pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit until the pressure subsides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Longer is okay. You can store the cooked beans in their liquid in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you’re a dried legume lover, as I am, consider buying a medium-size skillet-style pressure cooker. It’s an excellent investment that, in addition to quickly cooking dried legumes, can do multiple-duty as a sturdy saute pan or stove top braising pot.