Cajun Rice and Beans

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by Michael on March 16, 2013 · 1 comment

in Commentary,Main Dishes,Recipes,Side Dishes,Technique,Vegetarian

I wasn’t going to post such a simple thing as Cajun rice and beans. But I can imagine chef King reach out from Oregon and smack me on the head with the admonition, “Don’t teach the recipes; teach them how to cook.”

How to make this adds up to much more than dinner.

I never make beans the same way. But I got to thinking about why I don’t. The method is always the same but the dish is always changing. It depends on what’s in the kitchen.

Technique is the key. A recipe can be followed. A technique can lead you. In this case its building flavors with the bas of the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking: Diced onions, celery and bell peppers.

A base or mix of aromatic vegetables defines many regional cuisines. The Holy Trinity is a derivative of mirepoix, the French blend of onions, celery and carrots and sometimes leeks. In Italy it’s called a soffritto and has red onion, carrot and celery and usually but not always garlic. The list goes on. Spain, Mexico and almost any region with a general overall flavor has a base set of ingredients. Change the base and you have a whole new dish. The concept is that you build a base of flavors to enhance the main ingredients.

The vegetable base is sautéed with butter or oil or animal fat, (vegetarian suggestion below) and then the rest of the ingredients are added. This is your base of flavor – your primed canvas so to speak. In this case, I started with bacon rendered down to add the fat for the vegetables.

This is not your ordinary red beans and rice but a little lighter white bean dish. And If I had andouille sausage, I would have added it with the bacon at the beginning of the dish. I also used brown rice. I am sure that it is illegal in lower Louisiana but that is what I had. To make this vegetarian, skip the bacon and use olive oil and veggie stock. Either smoke the onion or add 5 drops of liquid smoke and a tablespoon tomato paste.

Ingredients:

Beans:

2 -3 slices thick bacon diced
1 diced bell pepper – I used an orange one because it was on sale – green is traditional.
1 can white cannellini or Northern beans
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
4 cloves minced garlic
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 – 2 tablespoons hot sauce to taste
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning to taste (I’ll find my mix recipe and post it, use your own or buy Frontier’s, Prudhomme’s, or even Emeril’s)
Olive oil.
Salt and pepper

Rice:

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown rice
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Cut up everything before starting. Really.

Rice:

If you are using Brown rice, start cooking it before you start dicing.
If you are using white rice, start cooking the rice when you start cooking the bacon.

Bring the stock to a low boil.
Add the butter salt and rice.Stir and bring back to a boil and reduce the heat to low.
Cover and cook according to the times on the bag of rice – generally 20 minutes for white and 50 minutes for brown.
Turn off heat and let rest for five minutes.

Beans (cook WHILE the rice is cooking):

Heat a large heavy skillet on medium high and add a splash of olive oil.
Add the chopped bacon and cook stirring frequently until crisp.
Add the garlic and stir for a minute.
Add the vegetables and sauté for five minutes until the onions just become transparent.
Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and Cajun seasoning.
Mix in the can of beans (in this case I would not rinse them, but if you do, add ½ cup water)
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and keep warm until the rice is ready.

When the rice is ready, adjust the spiciness with hot sauce or Cajun seasoning, adjust the salt and pepper and add some liquid (wine) if the mix is too thick. The beans should be in a thick gravy.

Serve over the rice with extra hot sauce on the side.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Norm King March 16, 2013 at 2:27 PM

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