Making food from another part of the county can give you a nice break from your normal routine and make you feel like you are on vacation, well at least during dinner. Red beans & rice is a typical week night dinner in Louisiana and it can be a nice change of pace for you. Normally when we hear about Cajun or Creole food we think spicy hot, but in reality these dishes are just full of flavor. I like a little less spice in my food so for my red beans and rice I just lowered the heat. So this week take a little trip to the bayou with ChefElla’s Red Beans and Rice.
ChefElla’s Red Beans & Rice (4-5 Servings)
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a strainer, a can opener, a sauce pot with lid, a large stock pot, a long wooden spoon, a knife, and a cutting board.
3 Cans Pinto Beans, Drained, Rinsed (16 oz. cans)
1 Medium White Onion, Small Diced, (about 1 ½ cups)
1 Medium Green Pepper, Small Diced, (about 1 ¼ cups)
3 Medium Celery Stalks, Small Diced, (about 1 cup or 2 large stalks)
1 Tbl Garlic, Fresh, Minced, (about 3 cloves)
14-16 oz. Turkey Kielbasa or Andouille Sausage, Sliced into ¼ inch thick ½ moons
-If you like spicy foods replace the Kielbasa with Andouille Sausage. Andouille sausage is the traditional sausage used in this Louisiana dish. Andouille is a coarse ground smoked sausage made from pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. Andouille sausage came to Louisiana from the French people who settled there.
1 Can Chicken Broth, Low Sodium (14.5 oz. can)
2 Cups Jasmine Rice, Raw
-I use Jasmine rice for my red beans and rice because I like how light the rice cooks and the nice flavor it adds to the dish. You can use whatever kind of white rice you like for your dish.
2 Tbl Olive Oil
1 Tbl Creole Spice
-You can purchase creole spice in the store but it is easy to make and you can find many recipes online for this spice blend. For my recipe I used one from Chef Emril Lagasse a well-known Chef from Louisiana. The recipe is as follows.
Creole Spice (Emril’s Essence Creole Seasoning)
-This recipe will make a little more than you need, but simply store the rest in an air tight bag or container for another time.
2 ¼ tsp Paprika
2 tsp Salt, Kosher or Sea
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Cayenne Powder, (for my recipe I used ¼ tsp because I don’t like my food as spicy)
1 tsp Oregano, Dried
1 tsp Thyme, Dried
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly
3. Heat your large pot over high heat. When the pan is hot add the olive oil, onions, peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
-Note: In Cajun and Creole cooking the use of onions, pepper, and celery together is referred to as the trinity, or holy trinity. They have been given this nickname to show the respect that people have for them as base for so many Cajun and Creole dishes.
4. Add kielbasa or Andouille and creole spice and cook for 5 more minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Add chicken broth and red beans and simmer on high for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken while cooking. After cooking remove the red beans from the heat. The mixture will be saucy like a stew.
6. While the red beans are cooking make your rice following the manufacturer’s directions.
To serve make a bed of rice on a plate or bowl and top with the red beans. Serve red beans and rice with cornbread, biscuits, soft rolls, and a little hot sauce on the side just in case you want to spice things up.
Ella’s Helpers can help in the kitchen by doing any of the following:
Washing the vegetables
Measuring out the spices for the Creole seasoning
Opening, draining and rinsing the beans
Measuring out the dry rice and water
Adding the ingredients to the pot
Bigger helpers can help prep the meat and vegetables, and stir the food while it is cooking.