Saturday, January 24, 2009

Red Beans and Rice

First thing I ate in New Orleans after a 20-hour drive w/ Gene during spring break of 1998. Went to some place Adrienne took us to by Tulane where they didn't card me for the Turbo Dog. Nothing tastes as good a spicey food and cold beer after a 20-hour drive. This actually tastes pretty close to the real thing. It's not a hard dish to make and it's pretty forgiving as to the specific ingredients, as long as the beans are red and the cayenne pepper pours freely. I might just have to go to the distributor for a case of Dog and listen to Tom Waits*

Ingredients: 1 lbs dried kidney beans, 1/2 lbs diced smoked sausage , 1/4 lbs diced ham, approx. 3 cups stock (ham is good), 1 diced onion, 4 diced celery stalks, 5 diced or pressed cloves garlic, 2 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp sugar, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste (I like lots), 2 cups rice (cook separately), 1/2 bunch scallions

  • Soak beans and cook until soft (I put them on high in the slow cooker for a couple hours)
  • Drain beans, place back in slow cooker or pot
  • Add all the other ingredients (except the rice and green onions), pouring in stock to cover about an inch over the beans (more if cooking on stove)
  • Cook on medium (auto shift on mine) overnight in slow cooker or for a couple hours on stove, stirring often.
  • Blend 1/3, either in a blender or by just lightly using an immersion blender.
  • Taste, season if needed. Add stock if it gets too thick.
  • Serve with cooked rice and garnish with green onions.

Serves 6 (not 5 for once)

Notes: I like to do the presentation shown above with the beans in a shallow bowl w/ a 1/2 cup mould of rice on top, but when I freeze portions I just throw them together because you end up just mixing it all up anyway. If you don't want to deal with the blender, another method is to season a little more heavily and use a little more stock and add a can of unseasoned refried beans to get the right consistency.
I used your basic smoked sausage or kielbasa at the supermarket because I had some in the freezer, but to do this right use andouille would be authentic and Niman Ranch has one but the only price I could find online was $10/lb - maybe cheaper in Whole Paycheck store or something at TJ's. For the ham, tasso is authentic but I don't like it. Dry hot Capicola sliced extra thick from a deli would actually be great.
This can also be a good vegan dish too, but that's a completely different recipe I'll offer later on. If you want to try and let me know, I would think you would want to use a chipotle pepper for the smokey flavor, double the onion and celery and slow-cook it, maybe with some red peppers for texture, and use some extra spice

Frugal Factor: Beans, $1.50; Sausage, $1.50 as prepared but maybe $4 to get good stuff; Ham, $1 as prepared but $2 if using capicola from Shop Rite or something; Rice, $0.50; onion, celery, scallions and spices, $1.00. So, $5.50 as prepared or $9.00 as recommended. That's $0.92-$1.50/serving.

*I'll drink you under the table, be red-nosed, go for walks,
The old haunts what I wants is red beans and rice
And wear the dress I like so well, and meet me at the old saloon,
Make sure that there's a Dixie moon, New Orleans, I'll be there

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog and enjoyed myself looking through everything. Great pictures and recipes. I am usually a lurker, but wanted to let you know how nice I thought your blog was. I can't wait to try your recipes and see more.