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Beans Creole With Rice And Fried Bananas

ingredients

1 lb 6 oz (650 g) dried black beans
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
7 oz (200 g) finely chopped green peppers
1 green chilli pepper, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

for the rice:

10 oz (300 g) par-boiled Patna rice
scant 1 1/2 pints (800 ml) chicken stock
1/2 onion
1/2 green pepper
3 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) dry white wine
1 1/2 oz (45 g) butter
4 tbsp chopped coriander
1 lime, quartered

for the fried bananas:

5 bananas
plainflour
sunflower oil
ground cinnamon

method

1. Place the beans in a sieve and rinse well under the cold tap, drain and place them in a large, heavy-bottomed flameproof casserole dish with 3 1/2 pints (2 litres) water.

2. Bring slowly to the boil, cover, leaving a gap for steam to escape, reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. When the beans have been cooking for 1 3/4 hours add a large pinch of salt. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the chopped onion, garlic, peppers and fresh chilli pepper over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add a little salt and pepper, stir and then mix into the beans. Simmer the beans for a further 15-20 minutes, so that they are very tender.

5. During this time, cook the rice and fried bananas. Have the stock at a gentle boil. Peel, trim and finely chop the 1/2 onion and 1/2 pepper and fry them in 1 oz (30 g) butter over a moderately low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When they are pale golden brown, add the rice and cook for 1 minute while stirring; pour in the wine and continue cooking until it has completely evaporated.

6. Gradually pour in the boiling stock, stirring as you do so; cover and simmer gently over a low heat for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender but still firm and has absorbed all the liquid. Remove from the heat and leave to stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then use a fork to gently stir the rice, separating the grains. Stir in the coriander and 1/2 oz (15 g) solid butter.

7. While the rice is simmering you can cook the bananas. Peel and cut them lengthwise in half; cut each half into 1 1/2 in (4 cm) pieces. Coat these all over with flour, shaking off excess. Heat plenty of oil in a frying pan and when it is very hot but not smoking, add the bananas and fry briefly, until they begin to crisp and brown on the outside; remove from the oil and drain briefly on kitchen paper in a warm oven.

8. Transfer the rice to a heated serving dish; arrange the bananas all round the edge and sprinkle them with a little cinnamon. Serve the beans straight from their cooking dish and garnish each helping with a fresh lime wedge for squeezing over the rice.

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