Trivia question of the day: Who used to sign cards and letters with the above statement in order to show his love for red beans and rice? Answer appears at the bottom of this post!
So, hi there! It’s been a while. Hectic week or so yet again, but hopefully I can make up for it. Today is Fat Tuesday after all. Happy Mardi Gras to all Cajuns, Creoles, and wannabes (like me) out there!
Today, I was in the mood to make something spicy and of course, in honor of the holiday. One of my grandads is from Louisiana, and I’ve grown up loving Cajun and Creole food of all sorts. Shrimp étouffé, gumbo, jambalaya, okra in general…I love it all. Tony Chachere’s is a staple in my pantry, and I continuously turn friends onto it that have never heard of this seasoning blend sent from the gods. If you don’t know Tony….you need to meet him at your local grocery store ASAP. He will change your life.
After mentally debating about what to make for dinner tonight, I settled on red beans and rice. It’s a classic Creole dish that’s hearty, healthy, and wholesome. It has delicious spice to it, but more so in the flavor than heat.
I made mine a little healthier than normal since I didn’t use a ham hock, but that’s just me. If you have an extra hock around the house, by all means, put it to good use! My version may not be the most traditional, and yes I took a shortcut with canned beans, but I think it will satisfy any craving you have for good N’awlins-style food today!
Red Beans and Rice
Serves 2 to 3 as an entrée
1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
½ Tbsp. butter or margarine
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
½ cup finely chopped green pepper (typically bell, but you can use jalapeno for a little more heat and smokiness)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. ground thyme
¼ tsp. ground red pepper
½ tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning Blend
1- 14.5oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup water or low-sodium chicken broth
dash of hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 cup rice
2 cups water
In a large pan, heat oil and butter or margarine over medium-low to medium heat. Add in the holy trinity (onion, pepper, celery), stir to coat in oil, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add in garlic and all seasonings, and cook for another minute. Add beans to pan, and lightly smash some down using the back of a spoon. Pour in the water or broth, and bring pan to a simmer over medium-low heat. Let cook for 10 to 15 minutes. When bean mixture is thickened, taste and add hot sauce.
Serve over rice prepared according to package.
And in case you’re feeling a tad….thirsty…..here’s a drink recipe to help you feel a little closer to the French Quarter. I made these once in college with a roommate. A hurricane was headed straight towards our school, which cracked me up because I’m from Florida, and I couldn’t even escape from the storms while living in western Virginia. There was no better way to celebrate a potential hurricane-day off from school than by making a special trip to the liquor store and concocting these on a Tuesday night. I miss college.
New Orleans Hurricane
Makes 1 drink
2 oz. dark rum
1 oz. white rum
3 oz. passionfruit juice (use orange if you can’t find passionfruit)
3 oz. pineapple juice
splash of grenadine
citrus slice for garnish
Add rums and juices to a mixer filled with ice and shake or stir well to combine. Pour over ice and add a splash of grenadine for color. Serve with an orange or lime slice.
Trivia answer: If you said Louis Armstrong, famous New Orleanian jazz trumpeter and singer, you were right! Give yourself a pat on the back and laissez les bon temps rouler!