September 30, 2008

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

I am feeling a bit nostalgic. This recipe is the one that started it all...the laughter, the tears, the drinking...sigh. This dish brings back so many memories. Okay, so maybe I am overstating it a little for dramatic effect...but I am sure you get the picture...this was my first blog recipe.

I have already confessed that I have not been very original lately. But, to my credit, I looked back through my own blog to get ideas versus stealing someone else's. That is a step toward progress right??? I realized that we really, really liked this recipe and have not had it since I first made it back in July. Also, today is the perfect day to bust out the slow cooker. I have big plans for my afternoon, and cooking is not one of them. Sitting on my couch and that is my big plan.
I went spelunking in my freezer and found the other half of the smoked sausage I used the last time I made this dish. BINGO! I love economical recipes where you can save some of the ingredients and use them to make the recipe a second time. I also love it when I am thrifty, organized, and cognitive enough to plan ahead.

I decided to make a couple changes to the recipe, based on my results the first time. Normally, I try not to re-post recipes, but since it is slightly different this time, I am posting it again. I changed a couple quantities (salt and water) and I added Cajun seasoning as one of the ingredients. Other than that, I made a note that I used the hot sausage. Everything else is unchanged. If you are a fan of traditional Red Beans and Rice, this is a great easy version.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

3-4 cups water
1 cup dried red kidney beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 (14-ounce) package turkey, pork, or beef smoked sausage, thinly sliced (such as Healthy Choice) (I use HOT)
1 bay leaf
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning

3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions
pat of butter to top each serving

Combine first 12 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid; cook on high heat for 5 hours. Discard bay leaf; stir in salt. Serve over rice; sprinkle servings evenly with green onions and a pat if butter.

Jen's Notes:
Check your mixture every couple hours, to make sure all the water does not evaporate. I almost burned mine last time by not checking it. Luckily, I was able to add water at just the right moment and salvage the dish.
If the water is low or almost gone, add an additional 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water, depending on consistency. You can always remove the lid and let it reduce later if the final mixture is too soupy.

The Results:
First off, the battery on my camera was going dead as I took my picture. I could not get it to flash or click, so I resorted to other methods of photography. I had the husband take this picture with his camera phone, and it is a little fuzzy...but you can get the general idea of what our meal looked like tonight.

As far as taste goes, this dish was just as good as I remembered it. I made brown rice to go with it, instead of standard white rice. I actually liked the brown rice better, because it reminded me of the texture of "dirty rice". Overall, this meal was very satisfying and totally yummy. As I said in my first post results, this dish is a keeper.

No comments: