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Black Beans With Saffron Rice (Vegetarian)

2 cups black beans
4 cups water
1 onion, halved
3 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves
2 cups rice
1/3 teaspoon saffron

6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley
black pepper

Rinse and sort the beans. Put into a large, heavy pot with lid.
Cover with the 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and remove
from heat. Let stand for 2 hours.

Add the halved onions, bay leaves and garlic to beans. Place over
low heat and cook, covered, until beans are tender; about 1-1/2 to
2 hours. Check water and add more if needed while cooking.

Remove and discard the onion, bay leaves and garlic cloves. Keep
beans warm.

Prepare the garnish about 1 hour before serving. Place the tomatoes
and onion into a serving bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, cumin,
cayenne, parsley or basil and black pepper to taste. Toss to blend.

Bring 4 cups water to boiling in a heavy saucepan with tight fitting
lid. Add the rice and saffron threads (do not use too much saffron).
Stir well, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until
the rice has absorbed all the water.

To serve, place the rice, black beans, and the garnish into separate
bowls. Guests can serve themselves by placing a serving of rice,
topping with the beans and lastly with the garnish on their plates.

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