Saturday, October 31, 2009

Red Beans and Rice

I was raised on steak and potatoes. There was always a big slab of meat, usually beef, on our plates accompanied by a small mountain of mashed potatoes smothered in butter and gravy. That was in the 60’s. These days, we know that meat should be eaten sparingly so I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables and seafood.

When I looked into recipes for red beans and rice, I was surprised to find that there were many variations. I decided I should keep it simple for my first attempt and chose a recipe from A’s favorite site, Epicurious. It was billed as simple and easy and could be made with ingredients you already have on hand. True. All I had to buy were the beans and the tomato sauce.

As promised, this is a simple dish to make. It smelled great while it was cooking, but lacked any real flavor when I tasted it. It has heat from the spices and, but no distinctive flavor. It just tasted like beans with a kick. I think I will try some of those variations (Cuban, Cajun, etc) in hopes of finding a recipe with a unique taste.

Verdict: Not bad, but I won’t be making this again.

Red Beans and Rice
(source: Epicurious July 2003)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup water
A few dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed well in a strainer
4 cups hot cooked rice (from 1 cup raw rice
Sour cream (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and green pepper, and sauté until the pepper is very tender, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle in the chili powder and paprika, and cook 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato sauce, water, hot sauce, and kidney beans, and simmer about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and fragrant. Serve over rice with a small spoonful of sour cream on top, if desired.

Tip: To give the beans a smoky flavor you can add 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Mince it on a small plate with 2 knives before adding it to the beans. Omit the hot sauce.

Recycle: olive oil bottle, Tabasco sauce bottle, kidney beans cans, tomato sauce can

Compost: onion skins, garlic skins, pepper seeds and rind

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