Friday, September 10, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook – Red Beans and Rice

In honor of the Saints' victory last night, we’ve got a Cajun Classic! Red Beans and Rice! (Technically, this is actually pinto beans and rice, but the recipe is the same and I did not have any red beans. As I said a couple weeks ago, I am trying to use up a pantry-full of packages of dried beans.)

I have often enjoyed the complex spicy flavors of Cajun cooking. Living in Montana, I did not discover Cajun cuisine until my aunt moved to Louisiana and began sending cookbooks and spices to my Mom. It was the eighties, and Paul Prudhomme had just published his cookbook, Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen. (This recipe is loosely based on a recipe from that book.) Well, I’m happy to say that that cookbook started my love affair with Cajun flavor, and Red Beans and Rice has long been one of my absolute favorites. Here is my version.

Our ingredients are:
3 cups dried pinto beans – cooked and drained
2 cups of diced ham
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups of celery, finely chopped
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 32-oz pkg of beef stock
1 tablespoon of Squirrel's Low-sodium Cajun Spice Blend
6 cups of cooked white rice

Sort and clean 3 cups of dried beans, place them in a large bowl and fill bowl with water to 2 to 3 inches above the level of the beans. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. Drain & rinse, then put beans in a stock pot & fill to 1 inch above the level of the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Drain, rinse, & set aside.

Sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until the onions and celery are tender. Put the sautéed onions, celery and garlic in your stock pot along with the beans, diced ham, beef stock, and Squirrel’s Cajun Spice. Add water if needed to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Serve over cooked rice. Serves 6 to 8. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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