Red Beans and Rice with Alligator Sausage
Red Beans and Rice with Alligator Sausage
With Mardi Gras in full swing, one can only be dreaming of Cajan Creole Cuisine
Red Beans and Rice!!! Hellz yeah
I have the best memories of Mom and I in New Orleans for the first time. We didn’t do Mardi Gras, but we did do Jazz Fest and let me tell ya; it was all about the food, music and PARTYING non stop that whole week. The people, the love, the energy and creativity were absolutely endless. By the end of that week, I have to admit we really wanted a plate of steamed fresh veggies with “no more fat of any kind,” because we had never had so much fat and fried food in all our lives!!! As a girl from San Francisco, I left a piece of my heart in New Orleans!!! The memories of food and tradition served by proud people will be with me for the rest of my life.
When it comes to comfort food Mom is the first person I will almost always think of, next would be gram…of course my mom’s mother…because family comfort food recipes is what they both do best!! My mom cracks me up because that woman loves buying stuff off the internet! She started a new tradition of sending frozen food by mail. It all started with a coupon for Omaha Steaks as a Valentines gift in 2010. Hubby and I don’t really consume much beef at all, but it was a kick to get a random box in the mail of various meats and sides, including desserts. I know it gave mom joy sending these boxes, but some of the food was crazy high in fat and calories. Who knows what the GMO count was in half that processed food. Sometimes so processed it actually gave me heart burn. The steaks were not that amazing, and they always seem to add a bunch of hot dogs to bulk up the order. If I am going to eat a hot dog, it will not be Omaha’s.
This year mom found a new market and really surprised us with a very different type of box, it was from Cajun Grocers. This box came with a Cajun spice basket stuffed with gumbo (in a box? Yuk) Étouffée, red beans, cobbler, mustard, etc. In another box we got alligator sausages and a 15 lb TURDUCKEN!! (That’s a whole other blog post!) We came undone laughing, because I was telling Matt we needed to go to New Orleans and eat some alligator and crawfish pie! Matt has never been, and it has been over 10 years for me. Mom instinctively knew my cravings and brought Louisiana to US!!!
Although I make beans and rice often, I don’t always make Louisiana red beans and rice. I combed the food blogs, and nothing looked as I remembered, so, like most of my recipes, I winged it. Red beans and rice is cheap, good for your heart and soul and YUMMY comfort food. It’s versatile in preparation and ingredients. It is easy to make, can feed a lot of people, can be made with meat or go meatless. I love that it can be made in a pressure cooker, clay pot, stove top or slow cooker.
My favorite way to make beans and rice: I have a clay pot I love cooking dried beans in. I also wanted my rice to soak up the flavor of my bean broth verses cooking it separately. I wanted to include my alligator sausage but didn’t want to loose the individual flavors. I didn’t realize I was out of celery!!! Really no “holy trinity”, but I still had onions and peppers, so I made it anyway. The snow has been crazy this year, and I was not going to drive into town just to get celery. My recipe does include celery, because if I had it, I would have used it. I also only had dried parsley but would always prefer fresh in a dish like this. Using what you have on hand will sometimes surprise you, because this is how new recipes are created. Cooking from scratch is the most important lesson here.
For this recipe you will need:
avocado oil and 1-2 tbls of real butter
14 oz Red beans
2 cups of Rice (long grain, brown or jasmine)
Ham bone or scraps of ham fat, ends and meat
5 stalks of celery
1-2 bell peppers green and yellow or make it sweet with red and orange
5-8 cloves of garlic
Handful of parsley fresh chopped if you have it
3 bay leaves
15 cups Veggie Broth (could use chicken broth) you will have left over broth for reheating or thinning out.
Meat of choice I had 3 links of alligator sausage
Chicken thighs and hot links is another favorite.
Let’s put this together…
Rinse and pick through the beans, toss in pot, add bone or meat bits, 3 whole garlic cloves, a few dashes of Cajun spice, bay leaves, some good mineral salt, 10 cups of stock and let those beans cook for 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on your cooking method.
This photo is my homemade veggie stock I make from all my veggie scraps I keep frozen until my gallon zip bag is full. Click link for that recipe.
I like to stir my beans about an hour into cook time, unless you are using a pressure cooker.
Next sauté up onions, peppers, celery in my oil as veggies soften…
add rice and stir until it becomes opaque.
Then add rest of the garlic minced or grated and heat it through for a few minutes. Kill the heat and add some broth to deglaze, keeping all that flavor.
****Do not burn or brown the garlic or rice because it will ruin the whole flavor.****
After beans start to get soft but still need more cooking time add sautéed veggies with the rice and 2 more cups of stock, 3 if you’re using brown rice.
In the same sauté pan toss in the sausage with a small dollop of real butter and cook, then cover to keep warm.
When beans and rice are finished I like to scoop some out and add it to my sausage pan BEFORE I do this I cut the sausage in the pan with scissors so all the juice stays in the pan not on my cutting board. Some of the sausage pieces were still raw so I finished cooking them, then added my beans and rice.
Top with fresh parsley or even dried.
I like to serve this with a side of sautéed spinach, collards or kale.
Holla, then slap yo mama…this is damn delicious!
Oxox Ms Foodie
Info and variations on this recipe
This recipe took from prep to plate 4.5 hours with real rice and dried red beans not soaked.
If your beans and rice are gone but you still have stock left, just label and freeze it for another recipe. You can even use it just to make a veggie Raman soup or saute veggies in.
In Cajun and Creole cooking the “holy trinity” is celery, bell pepper and onion. If I was making this with chicken thighs, I’d toss chicken in some cajun spice and bake in the oven for 20 plus mins, making sure pink juice ran clear. If adding hot links, I’d skip spice on the chicken and just add salt, then toss in hot links for last 10 mins of cook time.
To reheat: add broth to a very hot pan, it will sizzle and steam, then add a few scoops of your left overs, give a stir for 3-4 mins and just like that ready to eat.