Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

I am a fan of food with some kick, some spice, some heat. This one packs a punch and is so simple. It can easily be thrown together on a weeknight since I call for canned beans. If you're one of those bean purists and want to soak yours overnight and save some coins, have at it. Me? The last time I did the whole "soak overnight" thing, I forgot about them, left the house for the day, and came home to what amounted to the odor of a skunk rotting in August - only it was sitting in my favorite big pot.

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

Olive oil
1lb Andouille sausage
1 red/yellow/OR orange bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (approximately 16oz)
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Heat 1tsp oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Slice the sausage into small rounds and saute for five minutes. You want to heat it through and get a bit of color on the meat. Remove from the pan and cover lightly to keep warm.
  2. In the same pan add 1 tsp oil and add the bell pepper and onion. Saute until softened. You do not need to caramelize these.
  3. Add the garlic and tomatoes with their juice to the bell pepper and onions. Lower the heat to medium to avoid scorching the garlic.
  4. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the vegetable mixture. Allow to heat through for five (5) minutes, stirring gently so that the beans don't get crushed.
  5. Return the sausage to the pan and heat through.

While cooking this dish make a pot of your favorite rice. I had jasmine on hand the other night. Even though jasmine rice evokes memories of Thai or Indian food, it paired well with the beans and Andouille.

Serve the dish in bowls with rice on the bottom and the bean mixture spooned on top. The addition of a bit of sour cream or Greek yogurt and freshly-chopped scallions adds freshness to the dish.


Don't know what Andouille sausage is all about? Take a gander.
You can use the easy-to-find Johnsonville brand in almost any grocery store. I've always had great luck speaking with managers when a brand I like isn't on the shelves. Never once has any manager told me he/she wouldn't be able to order what I requested. Well-stocked meat departments in grocery stores are beginning to carry Andouille in their meat cases. A mail-order company that offers high-quality Andouille is Jacob's out of Louisiana.

The sausage packs quite a wallop for some people. If your taste buds can handle the heat, see the variations below.

I didn't use additional seasonings in this quick recipe. Purists might blanch at the thought of omitting salt and pepper, among other items. The Andouille I use truly has enough seasonings in it to support the taste of the entire dish. Also, the use of canned tomatoes and beans adds some sodium. I liked how the bell pepper and onion provided just the right amount of aromatics to complement the deepness of the Andouille.

Replace the Andouille with a mild smoked sausage, shrimp, or chicken. If you do not use the Andouille, I'm suggesting the addition of the following spices/herbs to beef up the flavor of your dish:
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 tsp chili powder

Cranberry-Apple Chutney

This sucker's so simple, it'll make you smack ya mama!

I made this on the fly on Easter. I grilled chicken breasts and pork tenderloins outside even though it was cold. I decided that I wanted to offer something else to go along with the pork since I'd only dry rubbed it. I came up with this.

  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbl butter
  • 1/2 C white vinegar
    1 to 1 1/2 C dried cranberries (fresh or frozen can also be used. I had dried on hand.)
  • 1 - 2 apples - peeled and sliced. I used about 1 cup of DRIED apples from last year's harvest since I didn't have any fresh ones available, and the recipe was GREAT!)
    2 large navel oranges, JUICED- throw away everything else although you could throw in some of the zest if you're a real citrus-loving person.
  • 1 C white grape juice
  • Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan and add the onions. Saute over medium heat until softened and translucent. Don't brown them.
  2. Add the vinegar to the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cranberries and apples.
  4. Pour in the orange and grape juices and stir well. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer. The apples and cranberries will plump up while absorbing the liquid. (About 10 minutes)
  5. Add the cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  6. Let the mixture simmer for about another 5-10 minutes and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the chutney. Mix well. The butter will provide a nice gloss to the sauce.
  7. Serve along with grilled meat or fish. I served it with grilled pork tenderloin which had a simple dry rub of sea salt, cracked black pepper, and rosemary.

Zucchini-Onion Frittata

I found this one on Cooking Light's website. I'm a Cooking Light whore and am proud of it! Frittatas are so very easy and naturally lend themselves to the whims of the cook's palate because so many ingredients can be substituted depending on what's in the fridge, the garden, the season, in general. Enjoy!

I'd suggest using a spring mix with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper to round out a meal.

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

8 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Garnish: chopped seeded plum tomatoes


Melt butter with oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; add zucchini and onion, and sauté 12 to 14 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients at least 1 minute or until well blended. Pour over vegetable mixture.
Bake at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until set; increase oven temperature to broil, and broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and basil. Garnish, if desired.

Lightened Zucchini-Onion Frittata:

Reduce butter to 1 tablespoon, and omit oil.

Sauté zucchini and onion as directed; remove from heat. Reduce grated Parmesan cheese to 1/4 cup, stirring 2 tablespoons into vegetable mixture.

Substitute 1 (15-ounce) carton garden vegetable egg substitute for 8 eggs and 1/4 cup low-fat milk for 1/4 cup milk, and whisk together with salt and pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture.

Bake as directed; do not broil. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and basil. Garnish, if desired.
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Peach-Glazed Pork Chops

Nothing says lovin' like me standing over a grill. Got that?

Here's your list:

4 boneless center-cut pork chops

1 C peach preserves (preferably homemade...by me or someone else)

Spice Rub (see below)

Spice Rub
1/2 C brown sugar
3 tsp sea salt
3 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder

  1. Mix rub ingredients together and massage into all sides of the chops. Let sit for about 30 minutes. You don't want to grill super-cold meat. That's a no-no.

  2. Put preserves into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir with a non-stick spatula. Once the preserves are sauce-like, turn the heat on as low as possible. Ignore the sweet stuff for the moment.

  3. Preheat your outdoor grill (or indoor if you're in grill hell and can't have an outdoor grill for whatever reason) on LOW.

  4. If you grill these suckers on anything but low, you will end up with BLACK chops. Black chops = shit on a shingle.

  5. Grill the chops until done - remember a teeny bit of pink won't kill you. Too many people kill pork and end up eating what looks, tastes, and feels like damn bark. You don't want bark. Got that?

  6. During the last 5-7 minutes of grilling, baste all sides of the chops with the peach glaze. Don't walk away. Don't close the lid. The sugars will caramelize - that's good times. Walk away? They will burn. See above for Damn Bark.

  7. Serve the remaining peach glaze. My kid referred to it as dippy. He lives for dippy of any kind.

I served the chops with homemade Asian slaw, steamed corn on the cob, and grilled semolina bread. Grilling it alongside the chops turned out to be a great idea.