Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Red Beans & Rice
This past year was the first year, in 3 years, that my friends and I did not make the road trip down to New Orleans for their annual Jazzfest. If you haven't been to Jazzfest, or New Orleans, in general, I think you should plan a visit, like NOW. Jazzfest, in my opinion, wraps up the best that New Orleans has to offer in a 3 day weekend. The ecclectic mixes of music (I've seen anybody from Dave Matthews Band, to Bob Dylan, to even Ludacris!). And the food. Let me tell you. Every 5 steps, there's a new food booth with something different to offer than the last booth. Po' Boys, Crawfish Monica, big piles of Crawfish, Oysters, Pies of all sorts, anything your culinary mind can think of and relate to New Orleans... there's a booth for it. Music and food... my two favorite things, and the exact reason why I recommend New Orleans to anyone. Now to a humble Cajun classic... Red Beans & Rice.
1 cup jasmine rice
1 cup chicken stock
2 large smoked sausages, cut into slices
1 onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cans of chili beans, with chili sauce, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
Cajun Seasoning, depending on how Cajun you like it (I used a little over a tablespoon)
Everything goes pretty fast in this, so you can definitely get your grub on real quick for this.
Start with your rice. Add rice and chicken stock to medium pot and cook under medium heat, or according to package directions.
In a large skillet under medium high heat, add sausage, onion, and celery. Cook until sausage starts to brown and onion and celery soften, about 5 minutes. These three ingredients I think really bring a whole lot of flavor to the dish and I wouldn't recommend substituting them or leaving them out.
Stir in both cans of beans and tomatoes. Then add enough Cajun seasoning to your liking. Lower the heat a tad, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
By then, your rice is probably done or close to it, so uncover bean mixture and stir in rice. Heat entire mixture until hot all the way through. Serve hot on a plate and dig in!
This probably took no more than 20 minutes total. The flavors reminded me so much of New Orleans that I'm seriously going to have to bring back the Jazzfest roadtrips this year. I need to. I really feel like New Orleans is a part of me (even though no part of my family is from there and I've never lived there), but I've had some of the best times of my life with some of my greatest friends there, and that's not just something you quit. What types of foods bring back memories for you? What types of road trips are unforgettable?
And just as an added bonus, this was for dessert. After all, it's National Brownie Day today, so get you one!