Soup or Salad

Rice, beans and chorizo usually add up to a delicious, long-simmering stew or soup. However, the mix is also excellent when served at room temperature as a salad.

As curious as it sounds, rice, bean and chorizo salad is a great dish. First of all, it transforms leftovers. Extra cooked rice, a half can of beans or bits of vegetables get a great make-over in this recipe.

It's also relatively fast. For those who want a dish bursting with flavor but don't have two hours to cook it, this is the answer.

The base of this salad is chorizo, but other uncooked spicy sausage, crumbled into small pieces, can be substituted. The key to success when using sausage is to cook it thoroughly and drain it completely before mixing it into the other ingredients. Otherwise it will be greasy and unpalatable.

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Complete the Tex-Mex accent of this entree by adding cilantro, green onions and sweet red pepper. The combination is as good-looking as it is delicious.

RICE, BEAN AND CHORIZO SALAD

1/2 pound chorizo

1/2 cup converted rice

1 cup water

1 cup cooked black beans (rinsed, if canned)

1 small sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

Break chorizo into small pieces and place in medium pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove meat with slotted spoon onto paper towel-lined plate to drain completely, then place in salad bowl.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat in pan. Add rice and saute 2 minutes. Add water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, add black beans to chorizo in salad bowl along with sweet red pepper, cilantro and green onions. Add rice when tepid.

Stir together vinegar and oil in cup. Pour over rice mixture and toss gently but well. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Makes 2 servings.

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