My Favorite Meal EVER … Red Beans & Rice!
I suppose it’s all my fault. Or at least stating that makes it not seem so bad.
Confused? Okay, let me start at the beginning. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…oh wait, that’s too far back! How about yesterday – I decided to go to Whole Foods after Gracie’s doctor’s appointment. ((I LOVE that place!)) I had Gracie and Shep with me, and as many of you have probably experienced, shopping trip costs rise exponentially as the number of children accompanying you on said trip increases. So, I spent $54.79 and managed to leave with less than nothing I needed. But, we all got a sample of the tasty green onion pork sausage and all loved it (yes that’s rare)- so I knew that was the base of my dinner.
As we wandered around with a basket full of sausage and some things from the smokehouse deli – because
they were I was lured in ((by that tantalizing smell)), I noticed people walking around with these beautiful KING CAKES. I think to myself – “man they are sure early — isn’t it like a february 10th? – good for all of them…??” Well, the kiddos noticed the cakes too, so I joined in with the crowds and grabbed one. We made it through the checkout, out the door and all the way home managing to only leave one bag of groceries back at the store (boo) but I did have the sausage and the KING CAKE.
Since I left half of my purchases at the store, I decided I needed to stretch out what I bought by adding some cheap pantry staples to the sausage and forming a “free meal”. Okay – pause, “FREE MEALS” need to be a blog for another time – but do you know what I am talking about?? Super cheap & free ingredients used to make an entire meal?? It’s is a challenge and super rewarding & and a double treat if it’s healthy too! Now un-pause. So I grabbed a bag of calico red beans and hurriedly started them in the pressure cooker.
Then I began frying up the sausages, and making a pot of rice, grating cheese, chopping parsley and posting a picture of the pressure cooker on my Facebook page. With the picture, I posed the question “Guess what’s in the pot?” With in minutes, sweet Freeda guessed “Jamabalya because it’s FAT Tuesday…” And all of the sudden it hit me why everyone was buying the cakes – and I couldn’t help but laugh about buying one too. I immediately thought,” the boys will love this!!” And so funny, I was making red beans and rice how lucky could I be??
After 55 minutes, the beans were done and I ladled HALF of them into a pot in order to transform them into the consistency I like – I added the seasonings and was about to drain the rest of the beans and add them to my pot when, guess who walked in – my handy hubby, David. I said – “Will you please get out the colander and drain the rest of these for me so I can finish up the red beans? — but be careful that they don’t spill – I need them all.” “Sure”, he said and turned around, got the colander, and lifted up the insert of the pressure cooker.
At this point I should be hearing a pouring sound – but instead I hear a loud clank followed by “uhhh, that’s not good…I just spilled the beans.” Well, if I hadn’t already added the seasonings necessary for the entire batch it would have not been so bad – so that makes the whole thing my fault, I suppose. Oh well. It was spicy, salty and still satisfying. And the king cake made it all better!
I hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as most of my herd does. It can be made extra fast by using the pressure cooker for the beans. You can sub any type of sausage, usually I use smoked sausage or chorizo. The one thing I forgot to do with this meal is ((which is the thing that makes me love it so much)) — I love adding some lemon zest & a twist of lemon to the top of each bowl — again my fault.
- 2 lbs of uncooked or pre-cooked sausage links (I used uncooked green onion pork sausage links) from Whole Food's butcher case)
- lb dried red beans
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1&1/2 c uncooked basmati rice
- 1/2 t salt (or more to taste)
- 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T Old Bay seasoning
- 1-2 t hatch green chili powder (I use mild but you may want to use medium or increase the amount of you like the heat)
- 1-2 t hatch red chili powder (same recommendation as for the green chili)
- 1 t seasoned salt
- 1 t smoked paprika
- 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- 1 lemon
- Rinse the beans and discard anything that doesn't look right (hah). Add the beans to your pressure cooker, along with oil, bay leaves and garlic. Add water according to the recommendation of your pressure cooker's user manual. I cook my beans for 55 minutes on high pressure and allow the pressure to release naturally.
- As the beans are cooking, add the sausages to a heated skillet, cover and let them cook through until the casings are nice and crisp and dark brown.
- While the beans and sausages are doing their "thing", begin cooking the rice according to pkg instructions. I use a 2:1 ratio of water to rice.
- Prepare garnishes.
- When the beans are done, drain off the liquid but be sure to reserve 2 c. of liquid in case the beans thicken up too much while cooking on the stove. (AND certainly don't pour half of the bean down the drain) Place the beans in a pot over medium heat and add all of the spices, taste to insure proper saltiness. Mash and stir the beans in order to reach the desired consistency.
- Remove sausages from skillet and slice into 1" chunks.
- Add rice to individual bowls, top with a ladle full of beans and sausage. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Don't forget a bit of lemon zest and a pretty twist of lemon atop each bowl of red beans and rice. I hope you love this meal as much as I do!