The flavor profile of adzuki (or azuki) beans tends toward sweet; here in Hawaii, they are ubiquitous, not only in traditional Japanese confections such as yokan, or stuffed in mochi, or manju, but even as an addition to your shaved ice (if you’ve been to Matsumoto’s on the North Shore, you know what I’m talking about). Although I have never loved the beans in these sweet applications, I could not resist pairing them with the layered, complex smoky-sweet of Bourbon and uncured applewood smoked bacon. Cooking the beans with Volcano rice adds another lovely fragrance and nutty, almost vanilla dimension. - gingerroot —gingerroot
Test Kitchen Notes
Gingerroot has come up with a terrific twist on a popular comfort food dish. We enjoyed this dish right out of the pan for a warming lunch during a cold snap. This is easy to prepare and full of flavor, with bits of smoky bacon providing crunch and nice tender, yet firm beans providing a lovely bite. The bourbon gives the dish some nice extra flavor; I would even add a little more. I was not able to locate volcano rice in my area, but used a mix of red and brown rices, the instructions of which both advised cooking time similar to volcano so I didn't even have to adjust cooking time. I highly recommend the leftovers warmed up with a fried egg on top -- delicious! - healthierkitchen —healthierkitchen
dried adzuki beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked in water overnight
strips thick, uncured, applewood smoked bacon
Volcano rice, rinsed
good bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark
agave nectar (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste)
pinch of salt, to taste
In This Recipe
In the morning after soaking overnight, discard any beans that are floating. Drain water. If you are not going to cook right away, cover container with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Slice bacon in half, lengthwise, and then chop into small pieces. Add bacon to cold saucepan or Dutch oven and turn heat to medium. Cook bacon until fat is rendered and pieces are crisp and golden. Transfer cooked bacon to a small bowl and set aside. Drain off all but one tablespoon of grease.
Add beans to pan, stir, and then add rice. Stir to coat in bacon drippings. Add bourbon, stir and cook, about a minute, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add water, bring mixture to a simmer, and cover pan, lowering heat. Cook until liquid is absorbed and beans and rice are tender, about 30-35 minutes.
Fluff mixture with a fork.
Add 1 tablespoon of agave, reserved bacon pieces, and mix into beans and rice. Add additional agave if necessary. Add salt to taste. Serve hot or warm and enjoy!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.