Feeling tired from the last few days of brutal cold weather in the upper Midwest? Well, I am. My food muse was also tired of the steady diet of the same old thing. Standing in front of the fridge door open with a finger to my lips thinking, “Nope, nothing there to inspire dinner.”
Moving to the cupboard to find a can of premium kidney beans made a light bulb go on in my head. There is jasmine rice! There’s that spinach that needs to be eaten back in the fridge. Hmmm. Let’s find a recipe for red beans and rice.
The Maryland’s Flavors cookbook maybe has something? Taking a look-see, disappointment then amusement chases across my face because so many of the recipes called for can cream-of-something soup. (Nertz.) However no bean recipes turned up. Flipped to the end and there were some very interesting recipes:
What’s Up Doc Rabbit Casserole, Curried Pheasant Casserole, Canadian Goose, and Fred’s Fricasseed Muskrat. (Yup, you read it here. Only the pheasant and muskrat recipes did not call for some creamed canned soup.)
Moving on to the Internet, here’s a recipe I found and adapted from Allrecipes for Authentic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice for a vegetarian version.
Here’s the meat version:
1 pound of dried kidney beans
¼ cup of olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 stalks of celery chopped
6 cups of water
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (?)*
1 pound of Andouille sausage sliced
4 cups of water
2 cups of long grain rice
Original Method – Let’s call this Version 1 – the long method for preparing red beans is described:
(Uh-oh.) Rinse the beans and then soak in a large pot overnight. Mmmm maybe I’ll use the can of premium kidney beans! (Smart.) Dear reader, when or if you have the time, please do this step for the authentic flavor. Suffice to say: “hunger is the best cook still”.
Heat olive oil in a skillet, on medium heat cook onion, bell pepper, garlic, and celery for 3-4 minutes.
Rinse the soaked beans and put in a pot with 6 cups of water. Stir cooked vegetables into beans. Then season with bay leaves, thyme, sage, parsley, cayenne pepper and Cajun seasoning*. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 2 -1/2 hours.
After 2 hours stir in the sausage and cook for 30 minutes. (Can’t wait that long, folks.)
In the meantime prepare the rice: 2 cups of rice in the 4 cups of water. Bring water and rice to a boil and reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. (Jasmine rice takes less time) this is probably enough rice for 4 people. (I’m guessing.)
Okay, is anyone as hungry as a bear? It’s cold and I am craving carbs.
Here’s a quick recipe:
Start the rice as recommended in the recipe.
Open a can or two, if serving four, of kidney beans. Set aside. Assemble your herbs.*
Cut up a large onion in half. Thin slice the first half and put it in a large skillet with two tablespoons of olive oil. This is for the spinach recipe.
Do the same with the other half of onion in a 2nd smaller skillet with olive oil and add a clove or two of chopped garlic.
Add the herbs to the smaller skillet with the onions.* Cook on low heat until onions soften. Then add celery, garlic, pepper and beans. (I left out the green pepper.) Cook on medium low heat and taste test as you go – 10-12 minutes approximately of cooking.
Meanwhile, Wash the spinach and throw it in the large skillet with the onion; cover and let steam on very low heat. When steamed, in 5 minutes, throw a couple of teaspoons of sliced almonds on top, turn off the fire, keep covered and dish up when beans are ready – this doesn’t take long. Serve with the rice.
* Cajun seasoning = to make a batch to work from:
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
Notes: I used real garlic and onions in the beans. Substituted basil for oregano (Out of stock!) Into the beans – added the paprika and chili powder with a small knifepoint to control the heat. (Did not make up the spice batch, but added the additional herbs and spices by taste testing while the beans cooked.)
It was delicious and easy. Just what a hungry person needed to stave off the frigid weather woes was an authentic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice Recipe.
Thanks for stopping by the kitchen! Smile and stay warm.