I don't feed my kids rice as much as I could/should because of the mess. Hundreds of little grains, all over the floor. And with Baby S about to start eating too it's only going to get worse. But R has decided that he doesn't like pasta any more, and both kids currently like rice so it's time to get used to the cleaning up and experiment a bit with ways of making rice more of a rounded meal.
This vegetarian recipe for Mexican-style rice uses chipotle paste, which you can buy in a jar from the supermarket. Chipotle is a mild, smoky chilli and using a ready-made paste makes it really easy to amend the amount you use to suit your tastes.
I served this to the kids with a fried egg on top, which is something they both love. I have found that including something that they definitely like on the plate can prevent them running away from the table in tears (yes this has happened!). It would also be lovely with guacamole, tortillas or as part of a Mexican spread.
And yes, this is a bold meal to offer to a pair of picky eaters! I'm working really hard to offer them a varied selection of meals and I'm happy when they at least try something. They didn't love this as much as they would have done if i'd served up pizza or fish fingers, but they did both try it - which makes it a success in my book! And us grown ups loved it.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2-1 tsp chipotle paste, to taste
1 red pepper, diced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of black beans
160ml boiling water or stock
160g basmati rice
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, stir well, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally for ten minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chipotle paste, stir well and cook for a further minute. Add the pepper and cook for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is cooked.
Pour in the tomatoes, beans, rice and boiling water or stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook on a low heat for 18-20 minutes until the rice is cooked through and most of the liquid has gone.
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