Cajun Black Beans and Rice

Cajun Black Beans and Rice
Serves 4

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 of a large onion, diced [or 1 tsp onion powder]
3 cloves garlic crushed or [1/2- 1 tsp garlic powder]
1/2 green pepper, diced small
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium tomato, diced *optional*
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded *optional*
1 or 2 tsp cajun seasoning of preference or:
      *THE FOLLOWING IS A MILD/MED. FLAVORED SEASONING, bump up peppers to taste:
      1 tsp dried thyme
      1/4 tsp white or black pepper
      1/4 tsp basil
      Cayenne pepper to taste

In covered medium sauce pan cook everything together [ including chicken breast if you want—this way it collects the flavors as it cooks and you simply remove, shred or cube, and add it back in before serving.] Bring to boil then reduce to medium low [ about #3 on my dial]  and simmer for 30-45 minutes [depending on rice doneness] minutes. Stirring occasionally.

If using instant rice wait to add it until 10 minutes before end of cook time to give everything a chance to cook for a while in the broth before the rice sucks it all up.
 If using regular rice, go ahead and add it in from the start.

Salt to taste when finished simmering, Broth will add salt so be sure to TASTE it first before adding more.
 GREAT served with hot, crusty bread!

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