Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the rice, ham, beans and 2 cups water and stir to combine.
Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook until the rice is tender and almost all of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. (Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer; this will prevent the rice from sticking.) Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Season with salt. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.
Per serving: Calories 724; Fat 18 g (Saturated 5 g); Cholesterol 101 mg; Sodium 363 mg; Carbohydrate 94 g; Fiber 10 g; Protein 46 g
Slow-Cooked Ham and Beans:
Yield:Photograph by Antonis Achilleos
Combine the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes and paprika in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker. Add the ham, beans, bay leaf and thyme. Pour in 4 cups water; cover and cook on low, undisturbed, 8 hours.
Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the scallions and garlic to the slow cooker. Cover and cook 30 more minutes.
Remove the ham from the slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly before slicing. Set aside about one-third of the ham and 3 cups of the stewed bean mixture for another use. Serve the remaining ham with the bean mixture.
Per serving: Calories 750; Fat 22 g (Saturated 8 g); Cholesterol 201 mg; Sodium 640 mg; Carbohydrate 59 g; Fiber 17 g; Protein 77 g