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Red Beans and Rice - End of Year Pantry Cooking

Here we are once again just a few weeks away from the end of the year always a good time to go through the pantry to check on expiration dates and use up leftovers.

Scattered about are odds and ends of spices, cans of beans, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes to play with from the ever popular bargains obtained from the July “Can-Can Sale”.

Lacking time to research what to do with these leftovers, a tried and true all-season recipe comes in handy. The love of beans and sausage cooked slowly with aromatic vegetables and seasoning comes together in an always popular one-pot meal. A recipe overflowing with healthy, easy on the pocket, yummy goodness so flavorful it will easily slip into the everyday-go-to-recipes in your recipe box. Ready to lend a hand, it extends its value as a side dish as those flavor combinations actually improve after a day or two.

Feelings of gratification and accomplishment are a small bonus for making use of all those easy-on-the-pocket cans you so devotedly lugged home from the supermarket. Serve this warming comfort food ladled onto a bed of fluffy cooked rice to sop up the juices.

A recipe for Red Beans and Rice is cherished in my cookbook, Amelia’s Kitchen. In this version, I have changed it a little taking advantage of what I had on hand; 2 links of Italian sausage, 1 link of chorizo sausage, 1 can of light kidney beans and 1 can of pinto beans then I snuck in a lonely tomato that needed to be put to good use. A cup of cubed ham leftover from the large ham roast might be another addition. Give it a try substituting whatever you have on hand. The canned beans are also a convenient short-cut from the conventional soaked dry beans. 

While giving an occasional gentle stir to this "pot of gold", enjoy the aromas that are filling your kitchen with warmth and allure as it lovingly simmers slowly on the stove top for 1-1/2 hours.

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 links of Italian sausage

1/2 pound smoked sausage, skin removed, cut into 1/4-inch slices (Kielbasa, Chorizo, Liguica)

2-1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and black pepper

1 (12-ounce) can light red kidney beans

1 (12-ounce) can pinto beans

3 cups homemade chicken stock or 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 bay leaves

Directions

Remove the Italian sausage from the casing and break into small pieces. In a large skillet or pot, slowly render the fat from the sausage, stirring to brown all sides. Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients. 

Chop the onions, celery, green bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno pepper if using. Using a bench scraper will easily transport the chopped vegetable to the skillet. 

Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the browned sausage in the skillet. Over medium-high heat, add and sauté the onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno pepper for a five minutes. 

Add the peeled and chopped smoked sausage, chopped tomato, paprika, onion powder, sugar, thyme, salt and pepper. 

Sauté for an additional 5 minutes then add the drained and rinsed beans, chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Let simmer uncovered on low for 1-1/2 hours stirring occasionally and adding a cup of hot water at a time, if necessary. Remove bay leaves before serving.

White Rice

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups long-grain rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

While the beans are cooking add all the ingredients for the rice to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Once the rice is cooked let stand covered for 5 additional minutes. Serve with the red beans. Makes 4-6 Main Dish Servings and 8-12 side dishes

For more photos and other recipes visit my ongoing blog at http://ameliaskitchenblog.blogspot.com/

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

Buon Appetito from Amelia's Kitchen

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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