Monday, December 10, 2012

Rainy Day Red Beans

Ohhhh the weather outside is frightful....

At least it was this morning. I woke up to lightening and the lady on the radio announcing a tornado watch in my area. I spent the next hour with my head under the covers drifting in and out of sleep hoping that it would just disappear....Bad weather and I don't mix :)

Thankfully the storms have subsided and now it's just cold and rainy. Perfect weather for Christmas music and a nice, hot bowl of red beans and rice.

This is a fantastic recipe; a nice blend of my mom's red beans that I've eaten my entire life with a few additions that might sound weird but add a great flavor. I've lightened it up, adding veggies and using turkey sausage and brown rice to give it a healthier spin. Trust me, you'll feel great eating this.

You can make this either on the stove or in a crock pot, whichever suits your schedule -- either way it's just as delicious!

Speaking of schedule, I was in a mad rush when I made these yesterday morning before church (the longer they sit, the more flavorful they are!), so I am lame and only took two pictures. Forgive me? :)

I had the leftovers for lunch today and they were seriously just as good a day later! Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I always have.

NOTE: I rarely measure anything when I'm cooking (baking is a different story), so this dish is great because you can really add everything "to taste." Enjoy!

Rainy Day Red Beans with Brown Rice

1 package of Camellia Red Kidney Beans (I usually use half and can get about 4 servings out of it)
2 stalks of celery
~1/2 of a green bell pepper
chopped onion, to taste
turkey sausage
Tony's seasoning
hot sauce
any other seasonings you deem appropriate
brown rice

First, bring a pot of water to a boil and empty your beans into it. The amount of water depends on the amount of beans you use...Since I use about half a package, I'll fill the pot just over halfway full.

While your beans are cooking, chop your chop-ables! 

Add in your chopped veggies and your seasonings and give it a nice stir.

{ :) }

Keep your beans cooking on high for about 15-ish minutes. After that, turn it down to medium-low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, as the water can cook out quickly.

As your beans cook down, add more water if needed. Trust me when I say you DO NOT want all of the water to cook out - the smell/taste of what is left is awful! 
You'll want to keep a good amount of water in the pot (definitely enough to keep the beans covered) so it can get all nice and gravy-like.

Turn the heat down to low and keep a lid on it. There's no real time limit here, you'll be able to tell when the beans are completely cooked {aka, there will be no wrinkles or pink color left and they have a nice brown color}.

This is GREAT time to start cooking your rice!

Once the beans are done cooking, if the juice/gravy isn't quite as thick as you'd like, add a bit of cornstarch until it reaches the consistency you want. A bit = about 1/4 teaspoon at a time! Too much cornstarch results in big white clumps in your beans!

At this point, I usually add in a little more pepper, Tony's and hot sauce and give it a good stir before serving. This will taste EXCELLENT served over brown rice and with a side of warm toasted french bread or homemade biscuits.

If you want to REALLY get crazy -- sprinkle in a pinch of sugar right on top once you've served it. It adds just a touch of sweetness that blends so well with everything else.

For the crockpot: Put all of your ingredients (except the rice) in at once and cover with about 6 to 7.5 cups of water, again depending on the amount of beans and the size of your crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. I actually PREFER to cook these in the crockpot - the aroma that fills my apartment by the time I come home from work is WONDERFUL.

Go ahead, try it. I dare ya!

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