Monthly Archives: April 2010
Red beans and rice is a dish I’ve loved since I can remember, but it was only recently that I tried making it myself. It’s definitely a comfort food and is perfect for chilly or rainy days. Eric and I liked this recipe so much that we’ve made it several times since then, and we have very few recipes that we repeat that often. The one thing that really surprised me about this dish was the wonderful texture and flavor of the rice. I attribute this to the method of cooking the rice, which involves adding the rice to melted butter and cooking for two to three minutes before adding boiling water. This recipe did not disappoint, and I’m glad I still have a little time to enjoy it before the weather gets too hot.
Just as a note, we always use Conecuh sausage when we make this. It’s a smoked sausage made in Alabama and can be found in most southern states. We always make sure to stock up when we’re there visiting family. You can use Andouille or any other type of smoked sausage for this recipe.
Red Beans and Rice
For the beans:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 to 16 ounces smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium green bell peppers, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 quarts water
1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris
For the rice:
3 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
-Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and lightly brown.
-Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
-Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
-Add the bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil.
-Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
-Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher.
-Prepare rice during the last 30 minutes of cooking the beans. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan.
-While the water is coming to a boil place the butter into a 3-quart saucepan, set over medium heat.
-Once the butter begins to bubble, add the rice and stir to combine. Add the salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Carefully pour the water over the rice and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the beans over the rice.
Source: Adapted from Alton Brown
I love breakfast, especially on weekends. See, on Saturdays, one of us typically cooks something for breakfast. Feeling inspired to cook something on a recent Saturday morning, but not really sure what, I looked at a few saved recipes and discovered I had saved this particular recipe twice. Luckily enough, I had all the ingredients I needed. I took that as a sign that I needed to make these scones right away.
This was my first time making savory scones, and I have to say they’re simply brilliant. Bake them on a Saturday morning, enjoy a couple, freeze the rest and then have breakfast the rest of the week! They’re all I would want in a breakfast sandwich, packaged up in a neat, portable scone. Oh, did I mention the flavor? They’re hearty, for sure, but they’re also wonderfully fluffy and flaky. I used applewood smoked bacon, and I think the smokiness of it went very well with the cheddar and green onions. Since I can never seem to get enough pepper, I loved the amount of it in this recipe.
Bacon and Cheddar Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbsp water
-Preheat oven to 400°. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper on low speed.
-With the mixer running, gradually add the cubes of butter and continue mixing until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add the grated cheese and mix until just blended. (This can also be done by hand by stirring the dry ingredients together and then cutting in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives.)
-Add the green onions, bacon and 3/4 cup buttermilk to the flour mixture. Mix by hand until all the ingredients are incorporated, being careful not to overwork the dough. If the dough is too dry to hold together, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball.
-Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Using a well floured rolling pin, flatten the dough into an 8-10 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8-10 wedges, depending on the size you prefer. I found a pizza cutter to work the best for getting evenly sized wedges.
-Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl to combine. Brush each wedge with egg wash and transfer to a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle.
-To freeze: Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight freezer bag. Reheat in microwave for about two minutes on half power, or reheat in the oven at 400° for about 8 minutes.
Source: Originally from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather, adapted Buns in my Oven
Fondue is believed to have originated during the sixteenth century when Swiss families needed to come up with a way to make cheese and bread from the summer last through the winter. Obviously, we’ve come a long way since then. Fondue is easy to make and is a great way to gather people around the table.
This recipe calls for Gruyère, which we have used several times. However, we recently tried it with cave-aged Gruyère, and I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to go back. The cave-aged variety has a more intense flavor with a bit more saltiness. Either way, you can’t go wrong with Gruyère. You can use anything you want for dipping; there are no limitations! My favorites are grapes, apples, carrots, broccoli and pretzel bread.
This recipe makes 4-6 servings, but can easily be halved (as it was when I took this picture).
1 1/2 pounds Gruyère cheese
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons kirsch (You can use white wine for this if you want.)
freshly grated nutmeg
-Finely dice the cheese and set aside.
-Peel the garlic and cut in half. Rub the garlic around the inside of a medium saucepan (or your fondue pot, if it’s stovetop safe like ours) and discard.
-Add the wine to the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Do not allow to boil.
-Once the wine is warm, stir in the lemon juice. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring continually in a figure eight pattern. Allow each handful of cheese to melt before adding more.
-When the cheese is melted, dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch. Stir into cheese and turn up the heat until cheese is just bubbling and starting to thicken.
-Transfer to fondue pot, set over burner and grate nutmeg over the top.
-Serve with your favorite fruits, veggies and bread for dipping.
Source: Adapted from The Everything Fondue Cookbook by Rhonda Lauret Parkinson