November 24, 2008

Jen's Slow Cooker Brown Beans and Rice Surprise

For the next few days, I have vowed not to cook anything new (i.e. I am trying to use up what I already have on hand before the Thanksgiving holiday). I have a ton of cooked Pinto beans and the yummy cooking liquid that goes with it, so I thought I would morph it into something similar to my Cooking Light 'Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice' recipe. Only not red beans...brown beans.
I am pretty much going to follow the Red Beans and Rice recipe, with some exceptions (I amended the below recipe to indicate my changes). First and most obvious, I am using my cooked pinto beans. Then, I am putting potato chunks in it. I had two Yukon Gold potatoes that were starting to look a little sad, so I chopped them up and threw them in the pot. Next, I put my remaining bean liquid and some leftover chicken stock that I had thawed but did not use last night. I am not sure how much liquid the potatoes are going to soak up, so I put extra water into the mix too. I am going to reduce the cooking time, since most of the ingredients are already cooked or are quick to cook. With all of my additions, it ended up being a pretty big batch. Hopefully, this will be enough to have for the next couple days. If not, I have one more trick up my sleeve for tomorrow nights dinner. I will just have to see how it goes. I am curious to find out how the different ingredients are going to influence this dish. Wish me luck!

Jen's Slow Cooker Brown Beans and Rice Surprise

1 cup of chicken stock
2 cups of bean liquid
2 cups of water
1-2 cups of cooked Pinto beans
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into chunks
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 2-3 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 once in awhile, to make sure all the water does not evaporate.
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 Result:
This was good, but not as good as the normal Red Beans and Rice dish. The brown beans did okay as a substitute, but the red kidney beans really do add a different flavor and texture. I think they have more starch or something, because the kidney beans usually makes a thicker gravy. Also, I think I put too much water in this version. The potatoes did not soak up as much liquid as I had anticipated, so the whole thing was thinner than usual. With that being said, it was still very tasty. The brown beans were great in a pinch, and I would do it again if I did not have any kidney beans on hand, or if I found myself with a surplus of pinto beans again.

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