Side dish/ Vegetables

Cuban Style Brown Rice and Black Beans

Braggadocios over this rice dish!

In case you don’t know where Braggy or Braggadocio is, well it’s in Southeast Missouri, the “Bootheel” of the State. And it is where my twin sister lives and where her husband grew up farming cotton, wheat, soybeans, rice, and running a cotton gin until a tornado blew the gin away a couple of years ago.

When we go back home for I always start thinking of all the farming adages ….. like “I’m in tall cotton”, “we’re in the short rows”,  “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, “make hay while the sun shines”, and many others that I can’t think of right now.  If you haven’t heard any of these look them up and you will understand what they mean.

The closer we get to our part of Missouri, we start seeing rows of crops growing in different stages. I always start thinking of our (my twin and me) grandfather teaching us to drive in hay fields and how we would swerve in and out around the hay bales trying to perfect our driving skills, or, how we chopped cotton  once and were fired by the time we broke for lunch. Also remember wheat fields that use to be in our back yard and how we would take a wooden sled out and drag it through the wheat to make little paths that we could play in.  That is the extent of my farming experience. We weren’t raised on a farm but we were surrounded by them.   We had huge grain elevators on the river and a big compress in town to compress cotton bales for shipping. My mother or grandmother would often go out to my grandfather’s sister house to buy butter, milk and eggs at their farm.   My husband’s family use to buy unpasturized milk from her too (they’d pour the milk into gallon mason jars). Maybe that’s where he learned to like milk so much — he can drink 4 gallons a week by himself.

On this last trip to Missouri I learned about 3 rices that my brother-in-law’s cousin, Kaye, and her husband, Steve, are growing  They are organic long grain, organic brown and organic brown basmati rice and they are also growing organic popcorn.  They have named it Braggadocio Rice (and Braggadocio Popcorn) and for now it is being sold at several farmers markets in Memphis, and Cape Girardeau.

Now, this recipe just happens to be one that I ran across on Whole Foods website. Their recipe was served like red beans and rice. I changed the recipe somewhat and mixed it all together and used fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes and added some cumin to spice it up. Something else I tried was replacing the water with Goya coconut water which has flakes of coconut added in with the liquid.

So I am “braggadocios” about this recipe made with the rice that Kaye gave me on our trip back home. I was hoping to get some pictures of rice growing in the field but it was the wrong time of the year, maybe on our next trip.

I dry roasted the rice before adding liquid to the pan. Wow, what an aroma.

I sauteed the vegetables before adding to the rice.

Dig in, it’s ready and delicious.

I loved putting the rice mixture into a presentation ring (or just use a biscuit cutter). I sprayed it with cooking spray, packed in the rice mixture and then slid it out onto the plate.

You can do this ahead and when ready to serve, pop in 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.  I’m going to try and mold it in a ring and serve it cold as a rice and bean salad. (See picture)

Cuban Style Brown Rice and Black Beans


  • 1 c. brown basmati rice
  • 2 c. coconut water or tap water
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2- 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes cut in 1/2" pieces
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • 1 lime cut in wedges for garnish


  1. Place the rice in a strainer and rinse under cool running water.  Heat a heavy bottom pan or cast iron skillet over low heat and add the rice. Dry roast the rice for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until rice is dry and aromatic.
  2. Place the roasted rice in a pot. Add the coconut water and salt and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat and set aside until you have the beans ready.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oilis hot, add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Continue to saute for 2 more minutes. Carefully add the rinsed and drained black beans. Fold the bean mixture into the cooked rice, sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze a couple of the times over the top of the rice.

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  • Reply
    Sandy a la Mode
    August 31, 2010 at 10:44 am

    love the idea of putting the rice into a presentation ring, so professional! this looks really delish, i must try it sometime!

  • Reply
    Cathleen Sharpe
    October 2, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Hi, I am from Braggadocio and have been gone a long time. I have written a book that I will be publishing as a Kindle on Amazon about experiences in Braggadocio and where I moved to, New Orleans. The book is called, The Girl from Braggadocio. Would love to hear any old stories you might have of Braggy! Cathleen

    • Reply
      October 12, 2011 at 6:25 am

      My twin sister still lives there and I’m sure she has plenty of stories.

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