You may know some of the Smollett siblings—Jazz, Jake, Jurnee and Jussie—as stars of popular television shows, including Empire, Friday Night Lights, Underground and the Food Network’s Smollett Eats. Though they’ve now conquered Hollywood, the siblings spent their childhood crisscrossing the U.S., moving coast to coast 13 times. But no matter where they lived, they could always count on gathering around the family’s communal kitchen table.
In their new cookbook, The Family Table: Recipes & Moments from a Nomadic Life (William Morrow, 2018), the Smolletts share the good food that has shaped their lives. The book includes 125 recipes that pay tribute to their past and present, to food traditions across the country and to the global cuisine they’ve encountered in their travels, such as this long-simmered black beans and coconut-rice side dish.
Belizean Black Stew Beans with Coconut Rice
FOR THE STEW BEANS
1 pound dry black beans, sorted and rinsed
½ yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ pound bacon, cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 whole pepperoncini peppers
FOR THE COCONUT RICE
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1. Place beans in a large stockpot; cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to soak for 1½ hours. Drain beans, and return to pot. Cover with 6 cups water, bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
2. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves and cumin. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Add bacon, oil, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Simmer for 45 minutes more so flavors can marry.
3. To make the coconut rice, place rice ingredients in a medium saucepan with 1½ cups water; stir. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until rice is tender. Fluff with a fork.
4. Serve beans with coconut rice, and garnish with chiles.
Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.