Since my kids were small we've allowed them to choose their birthday dinners. Of course this usually included French fries, chicken nuggets, or pizza. As they became older they threw in a few surprises, switching out purchased pizza for my homemade pizza, or Italian beef sandwiches that I make in the crock pot.
My oldest turned 20 this summer and he asked for Jerk chicken and Caribbean rice. He'd eaten similar dishes at a small restaurant near the college he attends, and thought that would be a cool birthday meal. I agreed and the week before searched out recipes. I cheated on the Jerk chicken and bought seasoning at the store, rubbed it on boneless chicken breasts that my husband grilled. While looking for a rice dish, I came up with many recipes, and it wasn't easy to figure out what was authentic. I went with a simple recipe with ingredients I could find at the grocery store.
The rice recipe isn't really Caribbean, but rather Latin, and one website said it was Cuban, but originated in Spain. This is a shortcut version, using the canned beans. No matter where it's from it was delicious. I also sliced a mango and served it with the chicken and rice.
Rice and Black Beans
1 15-ounce can black beans (undrained)
1/4 cup Recaito
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups hot cooked white rice
Combine all ingredients, except the white rice, in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil. Lower heat, and allow to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or so.
Notes: I was out of cumin and didn't realize it, so I left it out. Yes, that probably made a huge difference but I loved the taste of the beans, and so did everyone else.
I found GOYA Recaito, which is basically what they are calling a "Cilantro cooking base" for rice, beans, soups, chili and stews. I'm going to try it in other dishes.
I used white extra long grain rice, and cooked it according to the directions. When the beans were heated I mixed them into the rice.