Growing up in Texas and Louisiana meant loads of delicious meals. One of my favorite (and easiest!) recipes comes from Southern Louisiana. Many current Cajun recipes are often thought of as unhealthy, being high in animal fats and a lot of rich dairy. Traditionally, however, our Cajun ancestors used very wholesome, real foods in these dishes. This recipe for Red Beans and Rice is a great example of a delicious, healthy Southern meal that emphasizes whole, real foods -- and is perfect for cold weather!
Red Beans and Rice
4 cups dark red kidney beans4 small links of organic Andouille or wild venison sausage (optional)
· 2 stalks of celery, chopped
· 2 small green bell peppers (or 1 large), chopped
· ½ medium yellow onion, chopped4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1. Begin by rinsing and soaking your kidney beans overnight. *This will shorten the cooking time, preserving many of the nutrients, as well as make them more digestible by helping to remove some of the indigestible complex sugars.
2. Rinse your soaked beans and, if necessary, boil them in water until completely softened.
3. Slice and cook sausage in a frying pan. When you remove cooked sausage, place them on paper towels to soak up some of the extra grease.
4. Sauté chopped onions and garlic in the olive oil until onions become translucent (usually 5-10 minutes on medium heat). Be sure to use a deep pan or dutch oven (cast iron works best to provide rich flavor!).
5. Stir in bell pepper and celery with onions. Let cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add parsley, thyme, bay leaves, salt, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper.
7. Add beans, sausage, and 2 cups of water.
8. Cover and let simmer on low-medium heat for 2 hours.
9. Stir every 30 minutes, adding water when necessary. The water will thicken as it takes in the vegetables and red beans.
When it’s nice and thick and a deep red color, it’s ready!
Serve over cooked brown rice, and garnish with Tabasco for an extra kick.
Cornbread goes great with red beans and rice. Check out this great recipe for some delicious, healthy cornbread here!
|Photo courtesy of Douglas P Perkins|
Enjoy, preferably with those you love!
By our wonderful contributing Blogger, Amanda Breaux!