Fijada (Brazilian Black Beans And Rice)

1 16-oz. bag dried black beans (2 cups)
2 quarts water
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ to 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder or red pepper powder depending on taste
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
½ lb. light ham, 96% to 98% fat free, cubed
½ lb. low fat Chorizo or spicy Italian sausage, cooked and well drained of any fat
6 oz. light Polish kielbasa or smoked sausage 95% to 97% fat free, sliced in bite size pieces

1. Follow package directions for sorting and rinsing beans. Soak beans overnight in 3 to 4 cups water, rinse and drain.

2. In 4-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, bring beans, water, salt, tomato paste, onion, garlic, red pepper, chili powder, black pepper and bay leaf to boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until beans are tender but still hold their shape.

3. Add ham, sausage and smoked sausage to beans and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until meats are heated through. Adjust seasonings if necessary and serve with hot French rolls made without added sugars or fats. For a more substantial meal, serve beans over 1/2 cup white rice, cooked without butter or salt.

Yield: 8 servings at approximately 280 calories; 4.5 grams total fat; 1.2 grams saturated fat; 42 milligrams cholesterol; 36 grams carbohydrate; 8.4 grams dietary fiber; 25 grams protein; 899 milligrams sodium.

Each 1/2 cup white rice cooked without butter or salt has approximately 100 calories; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 23 grams carbohydrate; 0.8 gram dietary fiber; 2 grams protein; 0 sodium.

Recipe from the Cookbook, Lighten Up – The Art of Low Fat Gourmet Cooking, by Mary E. Ross

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