Creole Beans and Rice

A densely nutritious dish with tender kidney beans, Andouille sausage, okra, kale and aged Basmati rice..

Creole Beans and Rice

Creole Beans and Rice

Soak dried red beans overnight.  Rinse, cover with fresh filtered water and bring to a boil.  Add a bay leaf, reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 2 hours.

Sauté bias-cut Andouille sausage with a little pancetta or fatty bacon until browned.  Add diced yellow onions, celery and bell peppers and cook until vegetables soften.

Add okra, seeded jalapeño, garlic, and chiffonade of kale and sauté 2-3 minutes.

Add cooked beans, black pepper, caraway, dill, oregano, cumin, thyme and paprika and simmer 20 minutes, adding bean-cooking water as needed to keep moist.

To serve, mound Basmati rice in the center of a bowl or dinner plate and ladle bean mixture around the perimeter.  Offer Louisiana hot sauce on the side.


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Crawfish Etouffee

Étouffée is a Cajun/Creole dish of crawfish, crab or shrimp smothered in a roux-thickened sauce of celery, onions and bell peppers with garlic, spices and a little sherry.  In New Orleans, étouffée is commonly served with jasmine or basmati rice..

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Crawfish Étouffée

(recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse and others)

Serves 2

1/2 stick unsalted, pastured butter
1 tablespoon organic, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped yellow onions
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock* (shrimp shells, water, celery, onion, bay, thyme, lemon)
12 oz crawfish tails
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until it begins to brown.  Add flour and whisk to combine.  Continue to cook and stir continuously until the roux takes on a dark, brown-red color.

Add the celery, onions and bell peppers (called the holy trinity of Cajun cooking) and cook for 5 minutes.

Add garlic, green onions, tomatoes, Worcestershire, bay, thyme, cayenne and cracked pepper and stir to combine.

Add shrimp stock (or water), sherry and crawfish tails, bring to a boil then reduce to low heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Add fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley, taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

Serve over rice and garnish with lemon wedges and very finely minced green onion, bell pepper, celery and parsley.  Offer Louisiana hot sauce.

* Mineral-rich shrimp is high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, Vitamin B12 and niacin.  Use some of the shrimp stock to cook the rice; it helps to make it more digestible.

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Roasted Asparagus with Capicola and Balsamic Grilled Peppers

Fresh pan-roasted asparagus wrapped in balsamic grilled peppers and capicola, with basil leaves, pecorino Romano and black olives..

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Wash and trim fresh asparagus, then steam until barely tender, about 4 minutes.  Immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process and retain color and nutrients.  Pat dry.

Lay out thin slices of capicola on a flat surface and place olive oil and balsamic marinated grilled peppers on top.  Add whole basil leaves and asparagus and roll up jellyroll fashion.  Secure with toothpicks.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat with just enough olive oil to prevent sticking.  Pan-roast until the edges of the meat begin to crisp and the asparagus starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Drain briefly on paper towels, then transfer to a plate and dress with pecorino Romano, black olives and freshly ground pepper.