Wish Upon A Dish: Red Beans & Rice

March 20, 2013

Red Beans & Rice

Been a while since this dish graced our table. I'm not sure why I put this on the menu but I am glad I did.

I happen to spot a baby smoked pork shoulder. Exactly enough for four. One reason I don't make a whole pork shoulder or Boston butt is the fact that my market does not usually sell small cuts of shoulder, you have to buy the whole thing. Way too much food for a family of four, let alone two. This baby smoked pork came wrapped in netting and was about the size of a softball. The perfect piece of pork to flavor my red beans and I will have plenty to make a Diappropriate Chicken Cordon Bleu Macaroni & Cheese next week.

Red beans made the right way are loaded with flavor but no guilt. Extremely healthy it's the kind of dish that would cook well in a slow cooker, an oven or like I did, on top of the stove. I have a Sunday Gravy cooking alongside so I am doing double vegetable chopping.

I forgot to soak my beans overnight so I did a quick soak. Just bring a pot of water to boil (no salt!!) simmer the beans for 3 minutes, shut off the heat and let the beans rest in the water for 1 hour. I do think the beans don't cook as evenly and they break up more than the overnight slow soak but in a pinch and the appearance is not a concern (like when it's smothered in sauce) it works well.

To round out the dish I am roasting a newly introduced andouille sausage. Yes, I got a coupon but I have found some of my best healthy foods that way. I love that this brand comes packaged in two separate sausages, so I just threw the second one in the freezer. It closely resembles a kielbasa in appearance and I new I would be correct that it probably tastes more like kielbasa than a true andouille but unlike the poultry versions, this actually has pork, spices and heat in it. The Nudge loved the touch of heat and he was very happy. The other main component is the rice and the best rice for a diabetic is basmati and it's cooked the same way regular long grain white rice is cooked. So nice when there is no extra work required of the best that are good for us. Makes it easier to stay on track.

I do mine in the microwave and mine is never under or over cooked. It is perfect every time. I have this clear Corning Ware glass casserole dish that I use but the regular French White works just as well since a lid is mandatory.

To microwave rice, quinoa, bulgar and barley :
Place the amount of water required for the amount of grain and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Set the oven to #5 (or medium), the time to 15 minutes, cover the pot and hit the button. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes after cooking so the steam is absorbed and the grains fluff up.

Now to the beans. I make enough for a 1/2 cup cooked beans, 1/2 cup rice, and a 4" sausage (sliced) per serving.

Red Beans
makes 4 servings

* 1 cup dry red beans
* 1/2 large white onion, chopped
* 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 bay leaves
* 4 cups water
* 1 packet Sazon with Azafran
* 1 dried ancho chili, seeded and chopped
* 1 ham hock or smoked sausage
* Vegetable oil

1. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a small tall stockpot (just big enough to almost cover the pork with water). Saute the onions, garlic, green pepper, dried chili and bay leaves until they soften. Add the soaked beans, the smoked pork, the packet of Sazon and enough water to cover 3/4 of the ham.
2. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, check the liquid level and turn the pork over. Cover and simmer another hour and remove the beans. Uncover, remove the meat and reduce the liquid to half. Puree a spoonful of beans to thicken the sauce and add the beans back to the sauce.
3. Pull the meat off the hock if not serving sausage add it back to the beans.

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