Thursday, June 01, 2006

Red Beans & Rice

This week's lunches are red beans & rice. I made eight small (400-calorie) servings of this over the weekend for less than $4.

I've known how to cook red beans & rice since I was a kid. It's pretty easy, especially if you don't try to get all fancy with it. Ingredients (this time): one bag of dried kidney beans, 1 lb. turkey smoked sausage, two small onions, garlic, olive oil, and spices.

After soaking the beans using the "quick soak" method described on the bag, I put them in a pot with the two onions (chopped up), about 4 tsp of minced garlic (from the jar in the fridge), 2 T olive oil, and seasonings including cayenne pepper, parsley, and basically anything that smelled like it should go in there. I covered all of this with water and let it simmer for a couple of hours. (It takes longer here because of the altitude.)

When the beans were about done, I sliced up the sausage and added that. I also took out a bowl of the beans and mashed them up with a potato masher and added them back - this is how you make red beans & rice instead of bean soup. While all of this continued to simmer, I cooked one cup of brown rice in two cups of water. Then I mixed everything together.

As I said earlier: 8 delicious meals, less than $4 expenditure. In New Orleans, this was traditionally cooked on Monday (washing day, so you wanted something easy to make) using the bone from Sunday's ham (in lieu of sausage).


sally said...

I swear by Tam's red beans and rice recipe. I made it at my parents' house this past xmas. My mom hasn't liked other red beans and rice recipes she'd eaten and when I found out what those dishes were like, I said "Oh no that's totally wrong; you gotta try it Tam N'Awrlins style!" It was a big hit and now my Dad requests it often.

I usually make 6 big, extremely filling, but reasonably low calorie (under 450) servings from: 1 lb dry kidney beans (using overnight soak method), an onion, garlic, lots of cayenne & black pepper, 14 oz turkey sausage, no oil, and 4 1/2 cups brown rice (cooked separately). I've used a ham bone in it before and other than making it saltier, it didn't seem to make a difference; I now just salt to taste when I eat it. One thing I've learned is that it helps a lot to add a spoonful or two of water to it when you reheat in the microwave; this keeps it from getting too dry.

Since beans-based meals are my favorite work lunches, I make this about once a month or so.

Tam's momm said...

I remember the first time you made red beans and rice. You asked me what spices to use and I told you just put in anything you thought would be good. This was back in the days when I actually had spices in my kitchen. It was yummy. I was talking to one of our Katrina evacuees here and he said that real New Orleans red beans and rice are made with red beans and not kidney beans. I'm not sure if that's true. I always used kidney beans. I may try your recipe and use some of the soy sausage that is cajun flavored.
I'm on the 4th and last day of my juice fast (all citrus)

Tam said...

I tried it once recently with red beans and I didn't like them as much as the kidney beans. When I was in New Orleans recently and had some red beans & rice at the airport, it seemed to be made with kidney beans.

With spices, Mosch tends to test them one at a time to see what they taste like. I usually just smell them and put in whatever smells like the dish I have in mind.

Tam said...

(Of course, I do know what most are like by now, so it's not like I have to open up the allspice to see if it goes in a stew...)

sally said...

Tam, I just wanted to tell you that I checked Mark Bittman's book just before I took it back to the library and he recommends making red beans and rice by making his red beans recipe, and rice, and mixing both with a large amount of (I kid you not) coconut milk. Does this sound bizarre to you? I thought it sounded quite gross.