Monday, 10 August 2015

Completely inauthentic red beans and rice

You know when you think you’re all organised and you know what you’re going to cook? You have put the time aside for it, and you have all your ingredients, and you’re really looking forward to it? That’s what good cooking is all about, right?

Well it turns out that I almost never, ever cook like that. It’s just not in my nature to be so organised, and even when I *think* I am, I’ve always forgotten some major component of a recipe. My cooking is therefore mostly done on the fly, with a lot of last minute recipe changes or substitutions. As it happens, sometimes you end up nailing it accidentally. That’s what happened when I attempted to make authentic Louisiana red beans and rice the other day.

Firstly, the beans. It turns out that genuine red beans are fairly difficult to get hold of in the UK. No bother though, for I looked up alternatives and found out that the pack of dried black beans that have been in the cupboard for ages should be fine. Except for that I forgot to soak them overnight beforehand. Luckily, there was a dusty tin of kidney beans at the back of the cupboard which saved the day. Secondly, I have no idea at all what Andouille sausage is. I decided, apropos of very little, that chorizo would do instead. Turns out that it’s probably more like a smoked sausage, but never mind. Thirdly, I couldn’t find Creole seasoning anywhere. We searched three supermarkets before giving in and getting a Cajun seasoning instead. Fourthly: the ham hock was hard to find, so I ended up leaving it out.

And yet, despite all of this, I ended up with a really delicious slow cooker creation. It probably bears no resemblance to actual red beans and rice, but it was super tasty nonetheless. So here is my off-the-hoof, completely unauthentic, grab-anything-nearby-then-feel-proud-of-yourself-afterwards recipe for red beans and rice.

1 tin of kidney beans in water
One chorizo sausage, sliced.
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped into chunky pieces.
chilli flakes or one fresh chilli, to taste
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning powder
Fresh basil
Cooked basmati rice.

Dump the entire contents of the kidney bean tin, water and all, into a slow cooker on high setting
Shallow fry the chorizo until it is browned. Plonk the sausage pieces into the slow cooker and reserve the fat in the pan.
Fry the garlic, onion and green pepper in the chorizo fat. Once softened and just browned, add to the slow cooker.
Add the chilli flakes, basil leaves and Cajun seasoning too.
I added a little water- about 100 mLs, although that made for quite a watery sauce and I don’t think you necessarily need to add that much.
Leave for about 4-5 hours. If it’s too watery
Cook the rice according to instructions. Spoon over the bean and sausage mixture and voila.

Enjoy :) xxx

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