Years ago some Vermont friends made this wonderfully filling and surprisingly healthful spin on nacho sauce for us. We've been hooked ever since. The cheese-laden original (3 or 4 cups Cabot Extra Sharp!) is still a favorite, but a few years ago I adapted the recipe to accommodate our less dairy-centric diet.
adapted from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook, New Revised Edition
serves 4 to 6
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
cayenne pepper, to taste (or a fresh jalapeno if you prefer)
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced (fresh or canned)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup corn (I almost always have frozen on hand, but fresh or canned work just as well)
1, 16 oz. can refried beans
6 oz. beer
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups brown rice
1, 15 oz. can black beans, drained
Place rice and three cups of water in a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the rice is boiling, turn heat down to low and cook, covered, for 45 minutes.
While rice is cooking, heat oil in a medium-sized, thick-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add onion and salt and saute 5 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, bell pepper, and tomatoes and stir well. Lower heat to medium low, cover pot and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce begins to stick, turn heat down a bit and stir more frequently.
After 25 minutes the vegetables should be very tender and bubbling contentedly in their juices. Add the garlic, corn, and refried beans. Stirring well at this stage will remove most of the lumps of refrieds. Add the beer (and drink up those remaining 6 ounces, if you haven't already done so) and stir well. Cook over medium low heat until the sauce bubbles. Remove from heat, carefully stir in the cheese, and set aside for just a moment while you turn your attention back to the rice.
The rice should be done at this point, so turn off the heat, uncover, and stir in the drained black beans.
To serve, spoon rice and bean mixture onto a pasta plate and ladle nacho sauce over the top. Scoop it up with your favorite tortilla chips and wash it down with an ice-cold bottle of beer.