Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Red Beans and friends: More Southern favorites

The next option for the Red Beans and Turkey Tasso (see recipe) is as a side-dish or part of a dinner ensemble as opposed to the one-bowl entrée. Because it's very moist and soupy, this dish makes a lot, but freezes very well. It was thawed gently and paired with other items. 

Tonight, Papa Bear has returned from a road trip and we are adding some more carb options and protein options more fitting a big guy who’s not 5’5” like his princess of a wife (yeah, that’s me; don’t make me come over there!).

Cornbread is often paired with red beans so I made a sweet, buttery cornbread. I put a dab of Steen’s Syrup in the cornbread thinking of my grandmother Cecilia’s tradition of serving us cornbread and milk with cool, thick Steen’s drizzled on top.

Going all the way “Southern,” we finished off the meal with homemade fried chicken. Papa Bear will not go to bed hungry and he knows that he was thoroughly missed last week.

Bonus: There will be cornbread and milk in the morning!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Adventures in Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice, like many things in life, involves options and alternatives. They may bore or excite you, but as Kecia Maynor Pauley once said "if you feel squirrelly, jump! I choose to jump.

The point of this series (yes, I'm going to drag this out into a bonafide saga) is to look at the cooking methods, ingredients and traditions. This can be a healthy dish or it can be decadent as candied bacon fat with maple crystals (Jennifer, you know who you are). The secondary point of this series is to provide a haven for all those people on social media tired of politics, reality shows and bathroom debates. LET US EMBRACE THE HUMBLE BEAN!!!

Look forward to soaking vs. no soaking, slow-cooking vs. simmering on stove, and the various types of accompaniments like bacon, sausage, tasso, andouille or straight vegetarian. I want to hear from you and I will embrace and give stage to your RB&R traditions and cooking methods.

The recipe will start as a fairly healthy, low-fat alternative paired with turkey tasso and brown rice. If you try this out, please know if won't short you on taste and boldness. It's full of protein, fiber and a good source of complex carbohydrates. It's intended to be diabetes-friendly, but it's a great one-dish meal or a side dish served with Southern favorites like fried chicken, cornbread or catfish.

Red Beans and Turkey Tasso
1 (1-pound) package dried red kidney beans
4 Quarts (16 cups) of water to start
2 Cups of chopped vegetable seasoning mix*
2 – 8 oz Packages of Savoie’s Turkey Tasso
2 Teaspoons each of dried thyme, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder
Optional seasonings, to taste, after cooking: Hot sauce, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper.
4 cups whole grain brown rice, cooked (1/2 to cup serving portion)
*Or individual chopped seasoning items:
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 celery stalks, chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, minced

Cooking Directions:
  1. Rinse and sort beans. Soak beans in container full of water and 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar for 2 to 4 hours changing out the water half way through the soaking process if possible. Soaking is optional and different methods maybe preferred. Unsoaked beans will require slightly longer simmering times
  2. Place beans in a large stew pot and cover with about 4 quarts of water or add water so that mixture is a ratio of 1 part beans to 2 parts water. Add dried thyme, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder
  3. Bring the beans to a rolling boil, then lower heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir often, (so that beans don't stick to bottom of pot) and add water as needed. 
  4. Dice the turkey tasso or cut into thin strips. Sauté the tasso with the diced vegetables and a dash of olive oil until tender. Add tasso and sautéed vegetables to the beans. Water should still cover all.
  5. Cover and continue to simmer for 1-2 hours until beans reach desired softness adding more water for a soupier consistency.
  6. Serve 1 cup of cooked beans with ½ cup of brown rice.

    Makes 8-10 servings depending on how soupy beans are made

Nutritional Facts Links
This stuff is THE BOMB!

So, whatcha got?