Cajun Red Beans and Rice

I have always been a fan of Cajun and Creole cooking; the flavors and spices are among some of the best in my mind. In my opinion, great Cajun food simply has soul, and that’s what draws me to it. I grew up on comfort food and to me – Cajun food is just that, comfort food with a kick. So in honor of this past Mardi Gras, I made one of my favorites: Red Beans and Rice.

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Cajun Red Beans And Rice
What you will need:

  • 1 lb. red kidney beans (dry, then soaked overnight in water)
  • 5 Strips bacon sliced to 1” strips
  • 3 Jalapenos chopped (seeds removed)
  • 4 Ribs celery chopped
  • 1 Green bell pepper chopped
  • 5 Cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • ¾ lb. Andouille sausage thinly sliced (I substituted ¼ lb. with linguisa)
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (The recipe below makes more than 2 tbsp. so just store the remainder, its great on fish or chicken)
  • 3 Cups chicken broth (You can substitute with water)
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Cups white rice
  • Salt and PepperRendered Bacon

Cajun Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp. oregano Chopped Andouille Sausage
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • ½ tbsp. cumin

Cook

Cook your white rice to the directions on the package and then let them sit, covered until your red beans are done. Make sure to flavor your rice with a little chicken stock, parsley or whatever you desire.

Start with a 6 quart dutch oven and slowly render out the fat of the sliced bacon. You want to do this under medium-low heat so that you don’t burn the bacon but rather pull out all that fat goodness. Before the bacon starts to get crisp pull it out and set it aside.

Next, you will add your Andouille sausage to the pot and cook that under medium-low heat until the sausage starts to brown. Once the Andouille is slightly browned pull it and set it aside.Brown Bits

Caveman Tip*** There should be all sorts of brown bits and grease in the bottom of the pan, that’s perfect, that’s what you want. It’s all those brown bits that help give the Red Beans and Rice those great flavors.

Now add your green peppers, onions, celery, garlic, and jalapenos to the pot at a medium heat. You will want to stir occasionally until the vegetables get soft.

Caveman Tip*** A trio of green peppers, onions and celery in the south is called the “ Holy Trinity” and it’s used as a base for most stews and soups. It’s very similar to the French version of the mirepoix which consists of celery, onions and carrots. Both are great as a base for a lot of dishes

Once the vegetables are soft add in your beans, bacon, sausage, 3 cups chicken broth, 3 cups water and 2 tbsp. of the Cajun seasoning.

Now bring the Red Beans up to a slow boil and then reduce the heat to low and put on the lid. You will want to simmer them for 30-60 minutes or until the beans are soft.

Caveman Tip*** I like to pull the lid off and cook the red beans without the lid  for the last 20 minutes of so, this allows the sauce to reduce and concentrate all those great flavors.Holy Trinity Besides I like my red beans and rice to be a little heartier as opposed to soupy

Once the red beans are done, place some rice in the center of a bowl and pour your red beans around the outside edge of them. I like to top with a little chopped green onion and serve.  It’s delicious.

If you’re a fan of spicy trust me, Red Beans and Rice will become one of your favorites too!

Enjoy!

Cavemans Go To Rice

What you will need:

  • ½ cup white onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup baby bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushroom chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ¼ cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Chicken bouillon (¼ cube optional)

 

Sauté:

 

Sauté the onions, celery, baby bell peppers, mushrroms & a pinch of salt in butter until soft; stirring often.  Continue cooking under medium heat.  Add rice to mixture and stir.  Add parsley, Montreal steak seasoning and chicken bouillon, cook over medium heat until the rice is light brown.  **Caveman Tip – Do not burn your rice!! Stir your rice constantly.  Make sure it gets coated with all the ingredients.  Taste your rice mixture. If needed, add a pinch of salt.

 

Cook

Once the rice has soaked up all the goodness, add chicken broth and water, then kick up the temperature to high heat.  You want to get the rice to a rolling boil.  **Caveman Tip: Taste your liquid,  this is what your rice will taste like, so add pepper or seasoning as desired.  You shouldn’t need any salt as the chicken bouillon will add that in.

 

Once the rice has reached a rolling boil, give it one final stir and cover with lid.  Now reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer.  **Caveman Tip: I like to cook my rice closer to medium heat than low heat, so find that perfect setting.  For some reason – this makes the rice a little firmer and the benefit is better texture, rather than soggy rice.

 

Rice Cooking 101: NEVER remove the lid during the cooking process.  If possible, use a clear lid so you can monitor that the liquid will be absorbed fully.

 

Once the liquid is absorbed (temperatures may very so it’s hard to gauge a timeframe, so KEEP your eye on the liquid). If I had to guess – I’d say 8-10 minutes.

Once the water is absorbed, and the rice is no longer bubbling up top, remove from heat source, and let it sit covered, for at least 5 minutes.  **Caveman Tip:  This allows the residual heat in the pan to continue to cook the rice, without burning the rice on the bottom of the pan. I like to leave the rice sitting with the lid on until the rest of the meal is ready to serve; it also keeps the rice warm.

 

When your ready, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, and serve!

Spanish Rice

What you will need:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, shredded or diced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (To coat the pan)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 packet Goyo Sazon Mexican seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (you can substitute with 1tbsp tomato paste or 1 cup strained canned tomatoes)
  • 2 cups medium or long grain white rice
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth or 3 1/2 cups water and chicken flavoring  (I  like to use Knorr Home-style concentrate or Swanson’s Flavor Boost you can keep them in the pantry and use single packets as necessary)
  • Hot sauce (always optional, but I love it!)

Prepare:

Under medium heat, sauté the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in a medium stock pan with EVOO for a couple of minutes. (This is called a Mira Pois and is a classic French technique to add flavor to soups, stews or any slow cooked meal.)

Then add rice, butter, chili powder, and cumin and continue to sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently.  All the vegetables should be soft by now. Let the ingredients marry together. Your house should smell good at this point.

Add:

Add 3 1/2 cups of the chicken broth (or water and chicken flavoring). Then, add the tomatoes and Goyo Sazon seasoning packet, salt and bring to a boil.

Now, taste the liquid at this point…it will give you a good idea of what the rice will taste like. Add salt if necessary (I also like to add a couple of dashes of hot sauce to bring some heat to the rice!)

Give it one final stir and then put a lid on your pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.

**DO NOT remove the lid at any time during the cooking process. Just keep an eye out until all the water is absorbed.  This is the most important thing to remember about rice!

Once the water is absorbed (this could take about 15-20 minutes), remove from heat and let stand with lid on, for about 5 minutes. This allows any of the liquid on the bottom to absorb into the rice, without burning it.

Remove the lid and let stand for about 5 more minutes, and then fluff with fork.  Enjoy.