Sunday, August 31, 2008

Trying My Hand at NOLA Cooking: Red Beans and Rice

D and I both take our lunch to work 5 days at week, which means that the same old standbys get really old really quick. To counteract this I've been trying to make a large batch of something on Sunday that at least one of us can eat for a few days. To counteract the boring same old lunch ideas I've been trying to find recipes for new dishes that I may not have made. This recipe, for red beans and rice, was recommended by a friend of mine on the What's Cooking board. It is from the blog Culinary Infatuation (which is written by Ally) and is actually for a healthier version of this classic New Orleans dish (hence why it was also in Joelen's NOLA blog event: which has some really tasty looking dishes).

I had never even had red beans and rice before, so I was a little intimidated making it. But it turns out I had nothing to worry about. This dish was incredibly easy to make and I actually found myself having fun making it. Not to mention it made the house smell really good! I had a little bit of an issue with finding some of the ingredients, some I could not find where I do my shopping (probably has something to do with where I live). I could not find turkey sausage at my store so mine is a little less healthy because I ended up using regular sausage. I didn't buy the hot sauce (I forgot to write it on my grocery list) but D said it was good without it, and I left out the celery, I just cannot make myself like this vegetable. I did buy Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and I'm glad I did, it is really good! We've put it on chicken as well and it is really tasty.

This made a lot, but it was really good and D said it reheated pretty well for quite a few days. I definitely recommend this recipe, either my not-quite-so-healthy version or Ally's healthier version.

Red Beans and Rice
Ally says this makes 6 large servings, which is about what I had.

2 cups rice (I used white rice, Ally used brown rice)
2 cans dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 cup bell pepper (I used green but any color will do)
1 medium onion finely diced
1 cup diced celery (I omitted)
3 garlic cloves minced
1 Tbs. canola oil (I used vegetable)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley
1 link turkey smoked sausage chopped into half moons (I used regular sausage)
5 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth/stock
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs (or more to taste) Tony Chachere's creole seasoning (I stuck with 1 Tbs because I was not familiar with the taste, next time I will use a bit more)
cayenne pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add canola oil. Add onions, peppers and celery (The Cajun Trinity) and saute about 5 minutes. Add sausage and saute about 3 minutes more. Add rice and garlic and stir occasionally for about 3-5 minutes until rice is toasted. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. When pot comes to a boil reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 35 minutes. Uncover and mash some of the beans with a potato masher or a large spoon so mixture gets creamy. Cook uncovered for about 10-15 more minutes. Serve with pepper sauce.

1 comment:

Denise said...

Sounds good! I have made red beans and rice many times, but have never tried putting meat in it ... I'll have to give it a try.