What do I mean by a “Kinda Sorta Red Beans and Rice Recipe?” Well, it kinda tastes like an ‘official’ red beans and rice dish but it sorta doesn’t just have red beans in it…or smoked sausage. No, I didn’t use some weird bean substitute (like tofu), there’s actual beans in there and the smoked sausage was replaced with some lamb merguez sausage that I had in my freezer. You see, sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. I NEEDED a pot of red beans and rice and I scrounged my cupboards and freezer for ingredients. You’re gonna want to stay with me on this because I’ve got a really nice giveaway for you in this post.
I recently received a box of RiceSelect™ rices and they asked me to come up with a recipe utilizing one of their rice blends showing how I eat healthy while enjoying the foods of the world. I like the fact that you can buy a single container of rice and get a great blend of rices and/or grains in one package. It saves me from having to do all the mixing myself. (Not that I do that a lot, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little more variety on your fork than just a pile of plain ol’ rice.)
They sent me a container of each of their three blends: Royal Blend® with Brown and Red and Wild Rice (which contains
pre-cooked brown, wild and red rice); Royal Blend® with Flaxseed (which contains Texmati® light brown rice, whole wheat pearl couscous, brown flaxseed and black lentils) and Royal Blend® with Quinoa (which contains Texmati Light Brown Rice, red quinoa and freekah). I tried them all, but my favorite is the brown, red and wild rice mixture. These combinations give you lots of different textures and flavors with each bite, plus all the mixtures cook in under 20 minutes.
Back to the red beans and rice. Once I received the box, I was smacked upside the head with a craving for red beans and rice. Maybe because I haven’t had any in so long and probably because I have a trip coming up to New Orleans, next month. What’s a girl to do, but satisfy those cravings. There aren’t too many other dishes that make rice one of the star players. It is called red beans and rice after all.
To the cupboards and freezer I went, looking for the ingredients I needed. The closest thing I found to red beans, was a package of cassoulet beans (hey, there’s some red ones in there) and my two choices of sausage were linguica or lamb merguez (yes, food bloggers keep some seriously strange ingredients on hand). I opted for the lamb.
Red beans and rice is a ridiculously easy dish to make – 2 pots and a lot of cooking time is all it takes to feed an army of people, or yourself for a few days. By the way…red beans and rice freezes really well. So portion it out into zip top bags and you’ll have a great meal that you can re-heat in minutes on one of those nights when you don’t feel like cooking.
A dish like this only really requires a few things to give you that authentic flavor (of course I’m not from NOLA, so I’m sure those people will tell you/me that we’re wrong) – cajun spices and smoked ham hocks. Those two things are the strongest flavors in the dish. Using a mixture of dried beans gave me the same texture as using all red beans (you can used canned red beans, but you don’t cook it as long so I don’t think the flavors are as intense…but they work). The lamb merguez gave the dish a slightly different meaty flavor, but didn’t compete with the smoky ham flavor that came from the hocks. So what I’m trying to say is…don’t be afraid to make some substitutions in dishes. Use the stuff you already have.
Now, about that giveaway. You could win a $100 Visa gift card just for answering a simple question and leaving your answer in the comment section below. Sound simple enough?
Here’s the question: What is your favorite dish that includes rice and which Rice Select mix would you choose?
Want to learn more about their products, simply click on the RiceSelect™ link. Oh, and they’re part of the Non GMO Project too.
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/7/2013-11/7/2013.
Be sure to visit the RiceSelect brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
- 1 Pound Dried Cassoulet Beans (or dried red beans, for authenticity)
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons Bacon Fat (or olive oil – amount depends on fat content of your sausage)
- 6½ Ounces Lamb Merguez Sausage (cut into 1 inch pieces)(or smoked sausage of your choice)
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion (chopped)
- 3 Stalks Celery (chopped)
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper (chopped)
- 1 Good Pinch of Kosher Salt
- A Few Grinds of Black Pepper
- 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 2 Teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1½ – 2 Pounds Smoked Ham Hocks
- 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 2 Cups Water
- 2 Cups (uncooked) Royal Blend with Brown, Red & Wild Rice
- Parsley (optional)
- Pick through the beans to make sure there are no pebbles in there. Pour them into a large container and cover them with water until they are covered by 2 inches of water. Let them sit overnight.
- Drain the water from the beans and set them aside.
- Drop the fat into a large Dutch oven and heat over medium high heat.
- Once melted, add the sausage to the pan and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).
- Remove the sausage from the pan and set it aside.
- Add the onions, celery and pepper to the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Stir occasionally to keep things from sticking to the pan.
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, cajun seasoning and bay leaves to the cooking vegetables and give everything a good stir.
- Nestle the ham hocks into the vegetables then pour in the beans.
- Carefully add the stock and water to the pan and stir to mix things up.
- Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 90 minutes and stir from time to time to keep the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the sausage, and its drippings, back to the pan and stir. Cook for another 90 minutes at a simmer. Continue to stir it from time to time.
- While the pot of beans if finishing up, cook the rice according to package directions.
- Once the beans are done, remove the bay leaves and throw them away. Then pull out the ham hocks, remove the meat from them then chop it up and stir it back into the pot.
- Serve the red beans and rice in a bowl and garnish with parsley or chopped green onions.
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