Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Bean Primer: Red Beans & Rice

Hi! How is your week going?

Mine is going...whether I like it or not. I can't believe it's already half over. I have some stuff I need to do! For one, there is a desk in my living room that needs to be moved to Josiah's room. And I am working on a brand new online shop that features some really wonderful art. My mom and I are doing it together. It's been a bit tricky getting it all together. We live an hour away from each other and she works full time. We are gittin' 'er done. 

This is just a sample of a download that's going in the shop. 

Isn't this just darling? This is a original Zentangle print. My momma created it. She teaches art and part of her job is teaching art to residents in a Nursing Home. They have been her test subjects and happy to color anything she puts in front of them. They have been coloring fools! I have also been doing a little bit of this and that. Mine don't look near as detailed and professional, but doodling has given me some stress relief. 

But you didn't stop by to hear about my doodle habit or my stress levels! 

I've promised to give you some of my favorite bean recipes. This one comes from my friend Kimberly and her husband, Mark. She's originally from Michigan and her husband from Indiana. But they lived several years in Mobile, Alabama and came away with a few southern traditions. I always love going to their house. Kim has the gift of hospitality and is always ready with a cup of hot tea and a friendly ear. 

My first taste of this particular recipe was at their house (I might have had a cup of tea that day). It was wonderful. I am not a stranger to Red Beans & Rice, but this was just tasty good. And, as I was to find out, easy peasy. 

I made a trip to one of our local discount groceries a few weeks ago and found this bag of red kidney beans for .89. Now you can use canned beans. This is one of those kinds of recipes that has a few more steps so the easier you need to make it the better. 

Though I find cooking up a pot of beans to be no trouble at all.

I generally do a quick soak when cooking my beans. I just put my beans in my pot and covered them with water. I turned on the stove and let them come to a boil. Then I cooked them for about 8-10 minutes. I don't even think they need that long. 

After the beans have boiled, I turn off the stove and let the beans sit on top for an hour. You can do 2 hours if you have to. This is what they look like after they've soaked. 

After my beans soaked I drained them in a colander and covered them with clean, fresh water. I then put them on to cook. I am not sure how long. As I told you last have to babysit beans if you are going to cook them on top of the stove. They can soak up the water. I let them come to a boil and then turn them down. 

Just another thought before I move on. There have been occasions that the beans I have purchased at the Discount Store have taken forever and ever to cook. I'm sure the older the bean...I still take the chance. I like a good deal. 

You can use any rice for this recipe, but I used brown rice. My favorite brown rice recipe evah is still Alton Brown's.  I decided to cook this batch on top of the stove. I'm still trying to figure out why I did that. It always comes out so good in the oven. I managed just fine, but it just doesn't seem to come out as fluffy and nutty on the stove. White rice is simple bimple to cook on the stove. Brown rice is another animal grain. I cooked up 2 cups of rice for this recipe. 

It is truly the beautiful veggies that make this particular recipe unique. For one, you can't fix Red Beans & Rice without celery, onion & peppers. This recipe calls for one of each color. You can also see a little garlic peeking out there. So I realize my veggies aren't probably in their optimal condition. I don't care! I use what I have and we all eat fine. Don't throw something away that can be cleaned up a bit. 

So I chopped. And chopped some more. 

Then I threw my veggies (except for the garlic) in my big ole skillet. If you don't have a big ole skillet you need one. Just my opinion. I (heart) my big ole skillet. 

I need to talk about my choice of protein. The recipe called for andouille sausage. I used what I had in the freezer which was a nice package of delicious smoked sausage I got at the Discount Grocery for 1.99. It was a nice quality. I did defrost it in the microwave maybe a little too long. I think I got distracted. It happens. 

I threw my smoked sausage and garlic in the my big ole skillet and sauteed everything together. 

This, my friends, is spice in a can. How much spice in a can you want to use is up to you. I used a few tablespoons and it was plenty spice. Though I noticed my hot mouthed boys adding some hot sauce. 

I don't have a picture, but I mixed my beans and veggie mixture together and seasoned. I think it's okay to season the beans as you cook them, but I wanted to use any extra beans in something else (a chef salad). Then I mixed it all with my rice.  Josiah can eat a whole pot of rice by himself so I decided he needed to have a little something else with his rice. 

The result was really delicious. I wasn't as happy with my brown rice. It tasted fine. It was just a bit gummier than I like. 

This recipe made a bunch. We were able to have leftovers. Love the leftovers. The Muffin doesn't appreciate them as much as I do. So when he tells me that he will enjoy eating on something another day I know it's good. This was a dish he enjoyed again. 

Okay. So the recipe. 

3 cups of cooked red beans
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 med.Onion, chopped
5 stalls of chopped celery
1T minced garlic
2lbs of andouille sausage
2 cups of cooked rice
Tony Cachere's Creole seasoning to taste.(I used 2 T)

Saute all the veggies (except for the garlic) until tender. Add the sausage and garlic and give it another toss until the garlic has cooked a bit. Mix the veggies, beans and rice all together and season with the Creole seasoning until it tastes like you want to eat it.

I didn't serve anything with this dish the night I fixed it. I normally like something green to serve along most of anything we eat. Except pancakes. A spinach salad doesn't go too well with pancakes.

Not that I've tried. 

Anyhoo. This week I am going to fix Black Bean Cakes. They are so yummy. And a little addictive. 

I'll keep you posted. 

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