Kitchen Garden

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice
Red Beans and Rice

LAKE MACBRIDE— Welcome new readers of On Our Own: Sustainability in a Turbulent World. Since I opened the site up to search engines, people from all around the U.S. have been taking a look and liking and following my posts. I sincerely appreciate the interest, as it inspires me to do a better job when I post here. Believe it or not, I spend time crafting the prose to develop my own voice from a perspective grounded in rural Iowa. One would think there would be fewer typos with all of that so-called writing.

By far, the most immediately positive post was my recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits. Recipes are a solution to problems in life, in this case, how to make a buttermilk biscuit that was light, crunchy and split into layers, and didn’t require the purchase of a quart of buttermilk at a time. If I knew recipes would be so popular, I would have posted more of them. Knowing how to do something, cooking included, is a step along a path of sustainability, so going forward, I’ll post recipes that solve problems in the kitchen from time to time.

Sometimes recipes are a conundrum. Red beans and rice is one of those. The dish is different things to different people, and mine is partly a remembrance of many Saturdays in a motel in Thomasville, Georgia, where I discovered the food network, and Emeril Lagasse’s version of Louisiana cooking. He taught me about the trinity— onion, bell pepper and celery— and my version showcases this basic ingredient. My red beans and rice is also about Midwest semi-vegetarian cooking, and it has become a way of weekend cooking to make extra portions for weekday luncheons. It goes like this:

Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat for a couple of minutes.
Add two to three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan.
Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste, about a teaspoon for starters, and cook them a minute or so.
Add one yellow onion, one bell pepper and two stalks of celery, medium dice, and sauté for a minute or so.
Season with salt, garlic powder, a prepared dry seasoning with hot peppers in it, and add three bay leaves. Add a few splashes of Louisiana-style hot sauce if available.
Continue cooking until the vegetables are soft.
Squeeze in the juice of a lime and stir.
Add one pint canned, diced tomatoes (fresh if you have them), one cup brown rice, one 15 ounce can prepared red beans (drained and washed), and a pint of home made soup stock. Add several sprigs of fresh thyme.
Stir, bring to a boil, and turn the heat down to just above a simmer. Cook until the moisture is absorbed and the rice is done.
In a separate frying pan, brown eight ounces of seitan in a couple of teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and cook with thinly sliced spring onions. Set aside.
When the Dutch oven mixture is finished, and all the moisture is gone, re-season as appropriate. Add the seitan mixture and stir gently.
Serves five or six as a main course, more as a side dish.

Thanks again for reading my posts. I hope you will check back often.