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!

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Mexican Pizza

Playoff Pizza – Mexican Style

This last weekend was a tough one for the Cavewoman; her beloved Colts lost their playoff game. So to perk up her spirits I made her favorite foods, Mexican and Taco Bell. First off will be the Mexican Pizza, which I have to say, one off my favorites as well. Check out the 7 layer dip I will be posting tomorrow…it’s not too shabby either.

What you will need: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ of 1red onion chopped (I reserved the other half to top the pizza with) 4 tbsp.
  • Taco Seasoning (recipe to follow, or use package)
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese 8 (12″) Thin Flour Tortillas
  • 1 cup Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno Sliced (optional)
  • 1 Can Refried Beans (Caveman Version)
  • 1 Cup Salsa or taco sauce.
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives

Taco SeasoningOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • Dash cayenne pepper

 Prep

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Caveman Tip*** I make the taco meat and beans early in the day, and then store them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. This way I don’t have to rush to put them together and it gives the mixtures time to marry together for better flavor. Then when I am ready just reheat it quickly on the stove.

In a heavy bottom skillet under medium heat, drizzle EVOO and add the onions. You will want to sauté them till soft and then turn it up to medium high and add the meat. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat & reduce to medium low heat. Add the taco seasoning to the meat in the pan along with a splash of chicken or beef stock. (2 tbsp. or so) You will want to simmer on low heat until the liquid is absorbed.

Place the refried beans in a separate pan and heat to medium low.

Caveman Tip*** I use refried beans a lot, in either dishes and just don’t have the time to make them from scratch but I do like to doctor them up a bit. Sauté a 1/3 cup onion (I use a lot of onions so I always have some in the fridge half used from earlier that day or the day before) 2-3 baby bell peppers until soft. Add your beans small can 10 oz. rotell tomatoes, 2 tbsp. salsa, 2 tbsp. cayenne, 2 tbsp. cumin and heat under medium low.

Take your flour tortillas and lightly coat with EVOO then place on a backing sheet and put in the oven. After a few minutes I like to turn the heat up to broil to really crisp up those shells, but be careful they will burn quickly.

Assembly

Take your tortilla and apply a thin layer of beans on it, then add a thin layer of ground meat and top it with shredded cheddar cheese. Next, add your second tortilla to the top and then put a thin layer of salsa on it followed by a layer of the Monterey jack cheese.

Cook.

Put the pizza in the oven, middle rack at 400 degrees until all the cheese is melted, it will take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the pizza and your oven. Once all the cheese is melted remove it from the oven and finish the assembly.

 Final Assembly

Top the melted cheese with the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and jalapenos and olives.  Don’t forget your sour cream!

This will definitely be on the repeat list.

Cheesy Potato Goodness

What you will need:

  • 4-6 Russet Potatoes Sliced (quartered and sliced thin)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Dried Parsley
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley
  • ½ block Velveeta Cheese
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 tsp. cayenne (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

Prepare:

In a 10” skillet, melt the butter, EVOO and garlic over low heat.

Slice your potatoes thin so they cook well and are easy to eat.  This is a potato pie but you do not want your potatoes to be too big.  **Caveman Tip:  If pre-slicing your potatoes, store them in water until you’re ready to use them so they don’t turn brown.

**Caveman Tip:  Put your ½ block of Velveeta Cheese in the freezer at this time.  This makes it firmer and easier to cut later.  Trust me on this one. Also I am not a big fan on wasting things so I used the other half of the block to make a chili con queso dip for football Sunday.

Combine and Cook:

Turn the heat of your skillet up to medium and add your potatoes.  Season them liberally with salt and pepper, and then add in your dried parsley.  Give it a good stir, and put the lid on to let it all cook.   You want the potatoes to get soft, so continue to let it cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally.  Taste your food and add Salt & Pepper as needed.

**Caveman Tip:  I like to add in a dash of cayenne pepper at this point, it  gives it that extra bit of punch.

Take your block of Velveeta Cheese out of the freezer and slice the cheese it into ¼” thick slices.

In a separate bowl, crack all 12 of your eggs, add a pinch of salt and pepper and then whisk until they are blended.

Once your potatoes are soft and cooked, pour your egg mixture into the skillet over the potatoes and turn the heat to medium low. With the lid on, cook for a few minutes, you want the eggs to start setting up in the bottom of the pan. When they start to set flip your egg and potato mixture over from bottom to top.  (Kind of like an omelet) Your mixture will still be runny, but that is okay, you should have eggs that are semi cooked on the top.

Once you have flipped the entire mixture, place the cheese slices onto potatoes until the mixture is covered completely.  Cover again with the lid and let it cook for 10-15 minutes under medium low heat.

Now would be a good time to heat up the grill for Caveman’s Lemon Pepper Chops…!!

Once the cheese is completely melted, remove from heat, pull the lid and let it firm up.  We want to be able to cut into mixture, without the cheese melting inside.  We want it firm like a pie.

Sprinkle with some fresh parsley, Slice and serve!!

Enjoy! This will be your kids favorite.

NFL Potato Skins

What you will need:

  • 4 Potatoes, halved.
  • 2 Green Onions, sliced
  • Sour Cream or Ranch
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 Strips Bacon, Chopped
  • EVOO
  • Salt and Pepper

 

Prepare:

Preheat the Oven to 350⁰F.

Render down 4 slices of bacon and then chop.  Caveman Tip*** I like to cook my bacon on medium low heat this may take a little longer to cook but the bacon comes out so much better. Try putting the bacon in a cold pan and then turning up the heat to medium low. It will cook the bacon to perfection without burning it. You can leave it on a little longer to get that crispy crunch without burning it.

Cut the potatoes in half and place in the oven directly on the rack skin side up. You will want to cook them for about 30 minutes depending on the potato size. Check them after 30 minutes, a fork should easily penetrate all the way through. If not just let them cook a few minutes longer until they are ready.

Remove the potatoes and turn up the oven to broil.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to touch, use a spoon and scoop out the inside of them.

Brush the both sides with EVOO and a little salt and pepper

Put them back in the oven under the broiler for a minute or two per side. This will allow them to crisp up just a little more.

Combine and Cook:

Add your bacon bits and cheddar cheese then return to the oven. Broil them for a few more minutes until the cheese is good and melted.

Carefully pull them from the oven and top with sour cream or ranch and then top with the green onions.

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!