Thursday, September 16, 2010

Red Beans And Rice

Red Beans and Rice is one of my favorite meals to cook when the weather starts turning cool. It is good any time, but it is just one of those warm, stick to your ribs kind of meals that makes you feel cozy inside. It is also a very good vegetarian recipe, just leave out the meat products. If you want the smoke flavor that the sausage gives it add some liquid smoke.

I really like to start this meal completely from scratch with dried beans instead of canned, but for this recipe I will use the shortcut version, because that is what I had to do this time because I realized in the afternoon that I forgot to soak the beans overnight.

This recipe will feed an average family, I like to double it and have some to freeze.

1-2 tablespoons of oil to saute vegetables(butter or bacon grease are good choices)
2 onions chopped fine
1 bell pepper chopped fine
2-4 cloves of garlic to taste chopped fine
2-4 stalks of celery
1/2lb. - 1 lb of sausage depending on how meaty you want it(or none)
2-3 cans of Red Beans you can use the big or small beans or a mixture of both(we use both)
1-2 quarts of liquid for cooking the beans water or broth(chicken or vegetable)
1 can of fat free refried beans(this saves the step of mashing a portion of the beans while cooking)
Seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, or a Cajun seasoning mix
Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce are also good flavorings to add to the pot or to the bowl.

Start a pot of rice I usually cook 2 cups(uncooked) for our family. Sometimes we have leftover sometimes not...depends on how active everyone was that day.

Saute the onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic in oil until tender. If you want to start with bacon grease, two strips of bacon will come in handy to start with. You can crumble and add the bacon to the beans or eat your choice.

Cut the sausage into small pieces and add to pot, cook sausage for about 5 minutes.

Add the drained and rinsed beans to the pot(not the refried beans).

Add water or broth to cover the beans . At this point everything is cooked, if you are in a great hurry, you can add the can of refried beans and adjust the liquid so that you have a smooth, thickened gravy with the beans.

If you have extra time, add the liquid to the beans and let it cook on low for about 20 minutes so the flavors can come together. Add the refried beans and adjust the liquid so that the gravy is smooth and thickened. If at any point the beans and gravy get too thick just add more liquid to your liking.

Serve this over rice with a nice crusty slice of French bread to get all the gravy out of the bowl.

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