Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cajun Country Red Beans & Rice (Recipe 1979)

1 lb. dried red kidney beans, washed & sorted
2 quarts cold water
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup (1/4 lb.) smoked ham, minced
(I used Polish Sausage cut into small pieces)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
(I used 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion tops
(I didn't use)
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
(I didn't use)
4 cups cooked rice (I used Basmati)

Place beans in a very large heavy kettle, add water, cover and soak overnight.  Next day, add onions, green pepper, celery, ham (or whatever meat you are using), salt cayenne (or Cajun seasoning) and black pepper to the beans in their soaking water.  Bring to a boil over high heat; lower heat so that liquid ripples gently.  Cover; simmer 2 1/2 hours.  Stir in onion tops and parsley (if using); turn heat to lowest point and cook uncovered about 30 minutes.  Serve over hot bed of fluffy rice.  Serves 8-10

Comments:  This is another oldie but goodie.  I found this recipe in a booklet dating 1979 called Say it Twice.  Riceland Rice.  It is, as with so many recipes from the past, simple to make.  I did make the change from the ham to the Polish Sausage but you could also use regular sausage, ground beef, and even chicken if you want.  The change to the Cajun from the cayenne was to add less heat and just a touch of more flavor.  And the elimination of the green onions and parsley was made after tasting my dish when done.  I didn't see that they were needed but you can add them if you like.  The flavor of this dish is so perfect.  It isn't too spicy.  It isn't hot.  And all the flavors seem to complement each other.  This is the perfect dish for anytime but especially one of those cold winter nights.  Especially if you keep enough liquid to make it like a soup.

Comments from Food Tester Carol:  You eat this and you think you hear jazz playing in the background.  You look around for a party going on.  This would be a great dish to build a party around or to take to a pot luck.  The smokiness and balanced spices, topped with the nutty flavor of the basmati rice make this nutritious dish a great crowd pleaser.

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