Red Beans & Rice

Technically, this is Louisiana Red Beans & Rice, but being from New York, well. . . Anyways, here is a fabulous dish to eat no matter what side of this great country you call home. The dried beans must (I stress must) have a minimum eight hour soak prior to preparing this dish. The canned variety just won’t work. So start this the night before.

1lb. (this is about 2 cups) bag dried kidney beans
1 lb. Polish Kielbasa, sliced into coins
1 lb. of a smoked Creole sausage OR chorizo sausage – you decide how spicy
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 bunch of scallions minced – including the green parts
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 large cloves garlic (I used a large heaping Tbsp. of minced)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp. hot sauce, plus more to pass at the table

Bean Soak: Place the beans in a pot with a tight-fitting lid; cover with cold water and place in the fridge overnight. Next morning, drain and rinse beans and begin the dish, or you can place the beans in a bowl and just keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Place prepared beans in large dutch oven or pot that has a cover. Pour 2 quarts of water over and bring to a boil. Boil the beans for 10 minutes; lower the flame and simmer for one full hour. Add all the ingredients and bring it back to a simmer; keep at a good, steady simmer for 2 hours, occassionaly stirring and checking to make sure there is sufficient water to keep the beans “swimming.” After about 1 hour, mash a bit of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon – this keeps the sauce thick.

Add salt and pepper to taste, but only after it has been simmering well for at least 1 hour. Adding salt too soon will toughen the beans.

Make white rice on the side (and make plenty of it!) – place white rice in bowls, ladle the Red Beans over the rice and dig in!

Flavored Rice

When white rice just isn’t enough and you need it kicked up a bit.  This is not spicy, but add about one teaspoon of some red pepper flakes if you want to make it spicy.

1/4 cup orzo pasta (this is a rice-shaped pasta)
3/4 cup white rice (any white rice will do)
1/2 roasted red pepper, diced
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
14 oz. can chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin is best)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place everything into a medium-sized pot, bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low (as you would normally cook rice) and simmer for about 20 minutes or until done – this make take up to 30 minutes, stirring only once during cooking time.  Serve.

Spanish Rice & Beans

img_0033.jpgGoes very, very well with any kind of meat, or just have it with a salad. My sister Shawn takes her son Jimmy to a local Spanish bodega just about everyday after school for him to get a container of this kind of rice. It’s that good.

3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic (from the jar)
1 packet Goya Sazon
3 heaping Tbsp. Goya Sofrito
4 oz. (1/2 an 8 oz. can) tomato sauce
2 14 oz. cans beef broth
1 15.5 oz. can Goya Pink Beans
1/2 cup of whole, pitted green olives with their juice – (optional!)
– Some folks omit the olives but add a small chopped green pepper
4 cups uncooked Goya white rice

In a medium pot (that you have a tight-fitting lid for) heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sizzle for about 1 minute. Add the packet of Sazon and Sofrito. Stir and let simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and stir and simmer for 1 minute.

Add the broth, beans and olives – if using. Stir. Add the 4 cups rice, stir well and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has absorbed. It will still be moist around the edges, but kinda white/dry in the middle. This takes about 20-25 minutes. Do not stir it at all during this time – leave it alone to dry out.

Give it a good stirring with a wooden spoon, then reduce heat to low and place the lid on top. Let this cook for about 15-20 minutes more. Lift lid at the 15-minute mark, stir and test rice for doneness. Sometimes the rice does burn and stick to the bottom, don’t worry if it does. Some people actually like that crusty rice stuff. Enjoy!

Spanish Rice & Beans – II

This recipe is a gift from my sister Sandy. She’s been making this in some form for years. Sometimes she adds 2-3 cut-up hot dogs. It’s so good that I make it about 3 times a month. Plus, it goes as a side with just about any kind of meat. Kids love it. There’s another version with the ingredients all mixed together and cooked in 1 pot – Orange Rice. Try that one too.

2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Heaping tsp. minced garlic
1 Packet Goya Sazon
3 Heaping Tbsp. Goya Sofrito
1 Can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 Can (14 oz.) Goya beans – Pinto, Kidney, Red, Roman- you pick
2 Cans (14.5 oz) beef broth
1/2 Cup green olives with juice – (this is optional, but tasty)
2- 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
Goya Rice

In a medium sized pot, pour in the olive oil; when it’s hot, add the minced garlic and sizzle for a minute.
Empty in packet of Sazon, then Sofrito and stir until sizzling. Add in everything else and stir to combine.Cook on med-high heat until potatoes are done – about 30 minutes. Do not cover. Stir occasionally. This will thicken up because of the potato. However, sometimes it’s just not thickened enough. In that case get your box of cornstarch out and read the side for instructions on thickening. I follow those instructions and slowly stir mixture into the sauce at the end of cooking time, then cook for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, make your white rice on the side, the ratio being 6 cups water to 3 cups rice. Check out my White Rice Recipe under Categories. When both sauce & rice are done, place rice in individual bowls and ladle sauce on top.

White Rice

Easier to make than you think. Give it a whirl.

6 cups cold water (or chicken or vegetable broth)
3 cups white rice – I usually use Goya, sometimes Uncle Ben’s
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Place the cold water and oil n a pot that has a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir well. Lower heat to a low simmer and cover; cook until water has absorbed. This takes about 30-35 minutes with the Goya rice.

Couple of notes: The Goya rice bag has instructions for making white rice that just never, ever turns out for me – it comes out pretty gross, so I make it the standard way.

In addition, you’ll probably play around with the amount rice for your needs, just remember that however many cups of rice you’ll make multiply by 2 to get the amount of water needed.