Red Beans and Rice, Kinda

J – Happy post-Thanksgiving, everybody! Now that we’re all stuffed and recovering, it’s time to plan some cold weather food. Specifically, I made a reasonably spicy red beans and rice dish last night that turned out surprisingly well. Here is the recipe:

Red Beans and Rice:

  • 1 pound red or kidney beans, soaked overnight in water
    and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (for mild spice, add more as desired)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp dried parsely
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning (see below if you don’t have it)
  • 1 lb ground round OR 1lb spiced sausage
  • 3 cups long-grain rice

Cajun Spice substitute:

Combine:

  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Traditional red beans and rice eaters will notice that I’ve committed a serious crime by not including delicious, delicious sausage. Even though we DID get some delicious sausage this week from Friends & Farms, I stupidly didn’t plan ahead and just pan-fried it with some maple syrup. Tasty, but shortsighted. However, we also got some very good ground beef, so I substituted that, with a minor revision in the recipe.

First, brown the beef in a large pot (3 qts is plenty). When the beef is 85% finished, add in the onions, peppers, garlic, olive oil, and a little salt, pepper, and cayenne if you want. Saute the vegetables until the onions are clear, like so:

Note that you can add other vegetables here if you wanted, I just didn’t have any others handy. After the vegetables and beef have sauteed all the way, add in the beans and enough water that there is about an inch on top of the mass of food, about 6 cups (I added 7). Add in the rest of your spices, stir, and bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. If you are using sausage instead of beef, add the sausage after the liquid has simmered for 2 1/2 hours (definitely don’t simmer that delicious spicy sausage for 2 1/2 hours!). Basically, simmer this bad boy until the sauce is thickened to your liking. I boiled it down until it was about the consistency of light cream and then took it off heat right away. Prepare some rice and serve hot on top of rice. Definitely add salt to taste – it will be overpoweringly spicy (as in full of spice, not hot) otherwise, and enjoy!

Beef Stew

I – This recipe is a staple I like to make when the weather gets cold. Nothing like comfort food, a blanket and a good TV show… Better yet if it’s your boyfriend cooking it for you!

First, prep all of the ingredients – chop one large onion, 2 ribs of celery and 3 medium potatoes into bite sizes.  You’ll also need some frozen vegetables (the one we used had carrots, peas, corn and green beans).

Put 1lb (0.5Kg) cubed beef in a bag and add 2.5 tbsp of all-purpose flour. Close the bag and mix well (make sure the meat is well coated, it will crisp nicely. In a frying pan, brown meat in a little bit of olive oil.

Once browned, put meat and vegetables in the slow cooker. In a bowl mix 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (for the Portuguese readers, this is what we call molho inglês), 1 beef bouillon cube, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp marjoram and pepper. Pour it over the meat an vegetables and add one bay-leaf. Our 4qt (~3.75L) slow cooker ended up filled to the brim.

Cook on low for 12 hours or on high for 6 hours. You will end up with the most delicious vegetables ever. Plus if you do this during the day on the weekend, the whole apartment and the building hallways will smell delicious all day. The only slight issue we had this time was that the meat we used had very little fat, so it ended up a bit dry. But it disappeared in no time anyway, so no complaints!