My CSA Kitchen: Red Beans and Rice

Alright, so this recipe may seem a bit basic, and perhaps a little out of place, but sometimes it is nice to cross pollinate food culture. While red beans and rice is typically a southern classic, this week’s CSA box supplies many of the requisite ingredients to serve it up locally. Of course, given the nature of cooking seasonally from your food region, I had to deviate a bit from the recipe and make some personalized adjustments. But, after all, that is what the spirit of cooking represents: inspiration from others to cook food that best fits our individual (or community) environment. The recipe that I pulled from is by Lucinda Quinn’s cookbook, Mad Hungry, which is a great source of hearty, creative and flavorful meals that are perfect for families with a big appetite. I cook from this book quite frequently and would absolutely recommend this as kitchen resource.

Now recipe in Mad Hungry differs from this a bit, but I wanted my Red Beans and Rice to represent what is seasonally available here in Oregon. To start, here are the ingredients that I used:

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

1 Leek, quartered and chopped

1 Shallot, chopped

2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

1-1.5 Stalks of Celery, chopped small

1/2 teaspoon Thyme

1 table spoon Parsley, chopped

1/2 lb of Dried Red Beans (soaked for 2-4 hours beforehand)

4 Slices of Bacon

1 Bay Leaf

1/4 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

1 tablespoon of Tabasco (I like hot sauce a lot so maybe use less)

6-8 cups of water

Black Pepper and Coarse Salt to taste

To start you the oil over medium in a soup pot. When the oil is warm, add the celery garlic, leeks and shallots and saute until lightly caramelized: about 5 minutes. Then season the veggies with a little salt and pepper, mix in and cook for a few more minutes

Then pour in the water and beans. Bring the water to a boil for a few minutes,  then reduce heat to simmer the beans and vegetables. Allow the stew to cook for about 30 minutes

Next, add the chopped bacon, cayenne, bay leaf, thyme and Tabasco. Allow another 30-60 minutes to cook. As the beans soften, smash them against the pot with a spoon to create a creamier texture.

When the beans are soft and smashed, top with celery and whatever hot sauce your palette requires. Serve with rice, and you have a meal for 4-6 people (or 3 skiers).

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