Jamaican Rice and Peas

This is known in Jamaica as "Jamaican Coat of Arms." It is used as a side dish or as an entr?e.

1 cup dried small red beans
2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups long-grain rice
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 whole Scotch bonnet chile, or a 1-inch long whole
    haba?ero or any other very hot whole chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pour beans into a colander; pick over them and discard any pebbles, debris or malformed beans. Rinse beans thoroughly with cold running water. Place beans in a large pot and soak them overnight in enough water to cover.

Drain beans, return them to the pot, and add 4 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil, covered, over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer the beans until they are not quite tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, rice, diced onions, garlic, chile pepper, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer the rice and beans, covered, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the chile pepper and serve at once.

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