Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Fart Jokes, Please.

It’s not that I don’t find bodily functions funny. I’m as immature as the next 22-year-old (maybe more so). But I can’t take anyone making fun of beans. They are dear to me. I don’t know how else to say it except,

I freaking LOVE beans.

So that fact, coupled with my Arkansan-upbringing should make it a no-brainer that I am a huge fan of red beans and rice. In general, Cajun cooking is right up my alley, but I’m quite picky. Seafood is not an option, and quite a few Cajun staples revolve around fishy flavors. So as a kid, while everyone else chowed down on Jambalaya and fried catfish, I always migrated towards a hearty helping of the red beans and rice.

The following recipe is one of my favorites so far. And, the magazine it came from listed it as only costing approximately $3.00 per serving, which my budget very much appreciates at the moment.

Red Beans and Rice

Originally appeared as a slow cooker recipe in Family Circle.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ pound dried red kidney beans
1 large chicken bouillon cube
3 cups water
½ pound light kielbasa, cut into ¼ inch half moons
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked white rice

Rinse beans and pick over. Then bring to a boil in 3-4 cups of water. Boil 2 minutes, then take off stove and let sit for one hour with lid on. (If the instructions on the package of your dried beans differ, follow those steps here.) When beans have sat for an hour, put back on stove and simmer in large pot while you follow the next steps. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper and celery. Cook, stirring, for 7 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Then scrape contents of skillet into pot to cook with the beans. Also add Cajun seasoning, oregano, thyme, bouillon cube and some water, if it needs it. Then allow the mixture to keep simmering (covered, with lid tilted to let out steam) for 1½ to 2 hours. When beans are tender, stir in kielbasa and black pepper. Cook until heated through. Serve over rice.

Makes 6 servings.

Per Serving: 344 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat.); 8 g protein; 48 g carbohydrate; 11 g fiber; 890 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol.

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