Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lousiana Red Beans and Rice

 It's Creole Night in our household!  Lately we've been a little bit obsessed with anything Louisiana.  It seems like every food show that W watches has featured Cajun cuisine on one of their episodes lately, and both of us have been following another TV show that takes place near Shreveport (Bon Temps to be exact.)  Not to mention, I've been reading a series of books that are centered in Louisiana!  Neither of us have been there and we're itching to go visit now.  In the meantime, we decided to bring the French-influenced Southern state to us!

One of the most traditional dishes of Louisiana is Red Beans and Rice.  A typical recipe calls for things like smoked sausage, ham, and bacon.  Yuck!  Not in my kitchen!  Luckily, had a totally vegan recipe for this Creole dish!  I was super excited to try this, especially since we should all know by now how much I love anything to do with rice and beans; and of course because I'm obsessed with Louisiana lately.  

I didn't know exactly when I was going to have time to make this dish since we've been kinda busy lately, so I just kept a couple cans of red beans on hand even though the recipe calls for dried beans.  That was pretty much the only change I made to the recipe, so here it is:

Real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice From

1 pound dry red kidney beans (if you're in Louisiana, only Camellia brand will do)
4 cloves garlic
1 very large onion (about 2 cups chopped)
4 ribs celery
1 large bell pepper (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4-1 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons chopped chipotle pepper, in adobo (this is not traditional but lends a smoky taste; substitute another tsp. of Liquid Smoke seasoning if you prefer)
1/2-1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
salt, to taste
cooked rice, to serve

It's pretty easy to make if you're using canned beans like I did: 

-In a pot, cover beans with water with about an extra inch of water above bean line. 
-Finely chop the veggies and add to the pot.
-Add the rest of the ingredients except for salt and rice.
-Bring to a boil.
-Lower heat and let simmer for up to an hour.  The longer you simmer the better.
-I added some dehydrated vegan pork slices to try to make it more authentic, but it is fine without this.  The beans are amazing as they are with no meat or meat substitutes!

In the rice cooker I added a few sprinkles of Zatarain's Creole Seasoning.

 The Red Beans and Rice were delicious!  It was a true Cajun experience.  We had successfully brought Louisiana to Southern California.  W's comments were mumbled grunts of approval as he shoveled his food down.  That's always a good sign.  I think he was mostly exited that we finally have Tobasco sauce and liquid smoke in the house now.   

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