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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Red Beans and Rice

It's been over a year since Jim and I escaped to New Orleans and some days I still miss it terribly.  Especially on days when the world seems like a crazy place with crazy people who do crazy things (not the good kind of crazy.)  It feels like an older and better time in the French Quarter - with jazz pouring out into the streets and horse-drawn carriages going past you while you sip on coffee and nibble beignets.  This compelled me to make red beans and rice.  I've never made it before.  I noticed all the recipes for red beans and rice used thyme (yay I love thyme) - so I included that - but otherwise, this recipe is a whole lotta experimentation.  It came out really good.  You really can use any kind of sausage in this dish.  I chose linguica tonight because I haven't had it in forever, I love it, and the occasional indulgence will not kill me but will make me rather happy.  I even made white rice because I'm on vacation and life's too short to not indulge in the delicious but less nutritionally beneficial grain.  So eat something delicious and don't forget to give the people you love a squeeze tonight.

Red Beans and Rice
serves 4

2 Tbsp canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced and divided in half
1 small onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 oz. sausauge of your choice, sliced
1/2 lb.dry  red kidney beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
4 cups of water
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato sauce
rice for serving

In a large pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Saute half of the garlic, the onion, the green pepper, salt,  pepper, cayenne, and thyme for about 5 minutes until the veggies are tender.  Then add the sausage and the bay leaf and saute for another 5 minutes.  Add the beans, the rest of the garlic, and the water (more if necessary so that everything in the pot is covered.)  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook uncovered, keeping your eye on it, stirring occasionally, making sure everything stays covered and nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.  After about an hour, most of your liquid will be gone.  Once it looks very dry, add the chicken broth and tomato sauce.  Cook for another half an hour.  Then check your beans.  If they are tender, mash about half your mixture against the pot with a  spoon.  Then continue to cook on low, adding more water if necessary.  You don't want it to be dry, but you don't want it to be like soup either.  Check out my photo.  Serve hot with rice.


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