Monday, May 16, 2016
Cajun Red Beans and Rice
One of the things I started doing was finding recipes for dishes I enjoyed that I ate in jarred, canned, frozen, boxed, or pre-prepared forms. So far they have included Cajun dirty rice, chili con carne, enchiladas Suizas, pepián rojo de pepitas, picante sauce, roasted garlic hummus, tzatziki sauce, Thai peanut sauce, Russian Stroganoff, and more. One of my favorite boxed meals was Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice. I decided for May 2016 I would make it from scratch. I looked for recipes. I found one on Food Network’s site by Emeril Lagasse. This version is closer to the version found at Popeye’s fast food restaurants than the Zatarain’s version. The Zatarain’s version is rice with whole beans. The Lagasse version was a creamy red bean mixture poured over rice.
In the past, I had added various ingredients to the Zatarain’s red beans and rice to mix it up. I have used Portuguese linguica, Polska kielbasa, Cajun andouille, and Spanish chorizo. I added fresh onions, roasted garlic, tomatoes, corn, and green chiles. I wanted a more traditional version of this dish. I have only eaten two versions of the dish one from Zatarain’s and the version sold at Popeye’s chicken. Popeye’s version is closer to a traditional version than the Zatarain’s.
I decided to make this on May 12, 2016. The ingredients are red beans, onion, green onion, green bell peppers, celery, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, cayenne, andouille sausage, ham, rice, salt, and garlic. It takes two and a half hours to cook. I used my electric skillet/kettle. Towards the end one quarter of the beans are mashed to thicken the mixture. I surprised with the ease of this dish. It is time consuming to make, due to the two hour simmer. The electric skillet/kettle lowest simmer setting is 200 degrees Fahrenheit, I had to watch the liquid and add water as needed.
This was tasty, but could have used some more salt. I was wary to add too much salt because of the ham used. The heat was just enough to get the taste buds buzzing. The recipe called for smoked ham hocks. I wanted to use smoked pork shanks, I do not care ham hocks. I was unable to find smoke pork shanks, so I increased the ham amount. I am toying with using turkey ham, smoked turkey wings, and a chicken or turkey andouille sausage. That way I can continue my lowering the amount of red meat I eat. I loved this dish. Now anytime I crave Cajun red beans and rice I can make it myself.