Saturday, February 19, 2022

Rosie Makes Red Beans And Rice. And Sausage. And Shrimp.

 It's February.  And February is a tough month on the Outer Banks.  It's cold.  It's windy.  It seems like it lasts forever.  Did I mention it's Cold?  So I'm looking in my freezer and fridge and trying to put something together that's tasty and stick-to-your-ribs hearty.  And I have an idea.  I happened to have about a pint of cooked kidney beans leftover from a green bean salad I'd made and this whole meal idea was inspired by those red beans.  
If you're a regular reader of KAMB, then you might know that I don't do "recipes" per se.  Or give exact amounts. (Unless I'm baking, say a cake, or cookies, or brownies.)  But I do give you basic ideas for starting points and give you "wiggle-room" to adapt and adjust and substitute - both amounts and ingredients - to make the dish your own.  This dish is no exception to that non-rule.  Wiggle all you want.

Here are my basic ingredients for:
Red Beans And Rice.  With Some Other Stuff. 
 (Recipe makes 2 quarts +.)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 TB flour
2 cups vegetable broth 
1/2 cup jasmine rice
1 cup water
1 14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes, with juice (And use extra water to wash all the tomatoes out of the can.)
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups water
8-inch length Italian sausage, sliced  
qt. bag of shrimp  (approx. 10-14 oz.)
2 cups kidney beans, cooked
1 roasted red pepper, chopped  (You can use jarred or roast the pepper yourself.)
fresh cilantro

Now, my "recipe" calls for 2 cups vegetable broth and 3 cups+ water.  That's because I had a used quart container of vegetable broth in the fridge with about 2 cups broth left.  You could use a whole quart container of broth if you have it instead of the water.  Or you could use chicken broth. Remember - wiggle room.

Again, you have flexibility with the sausage.  I had Italian link sausage in the freezer, but you could substitute that with Andouille sausage or Kielbasa - whatever you have on hand.  I used a link sausage, but if you have ground sausage, you could use that instead.  Just cook either sausage before adding it to the dish.
Now, the how-to's:
In a medium stock pot over medium heat, heat up a tablespoon of oil.  Add in chopped onion and celery and sauté about 2 minutes, then add in the minced garlic and sauté another minute.
Add in the flour, and cook, stirring, for another two minutes to get the raw taste out of the flour.
Slowly stir in 2 cups vegetable broth, letting it thicken a bit.
Add in 1/2 cup rice and a cup of liquid (vegetable broth or water or you could use chicken broth here).
Add in the can of chopped tomatoes, washing out the can with water and pouring that into the pot to get all the flavor.
Add in the spices - chili powder and cumin and a little kosher salt.  Bring to simmer, reduce heat, cover, and let the rice cook for about 30 minutes.  Occasionally stir and scrape up from the bottom.
I ended up adding another cup of liquid here since it was really thick.

While the base is cooking and developing flavors, in a skillet with a little oil in it over medium-high heat, brown the sliced sausage on both sides and then add it to the pot.
 Add in the cooked red beans and chopped roasted red peppers.  Heat through.

In the same skillet you cooked the sausage in, with just a film of oil, sauté the shrimp until not quite done.  You'll finish them off in the hot pot.
Add the sautéed shrimp to the stock pot, then add a little water to the sausage/shrimp skillet and heat up, scraping up the goodie bits.  This is called "deglazing" the pan.  That's where all the flavor is.  Add this liquid to the pot.
Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh cilantro and lime slices, and buttered and toasted baguette slices alongside.

Comme ça!

 Now for the step-by-steps:

My mise-en-place:
1 onion
2 celery stalks
2 garlic cloves
pint of kidney beans, cooked
chili powder
vegetable stock
jasmine rice
roasted red peppers 
diced tomatoes


Film the bottom of a pot with oil, heat to medium, and sauté the chopped onions and celery for about 2 minutes.


Add in the minced garlic and sauté another minute.

Add in flour.
Cook, stirring 
for 2 minutes.

Slowly stir in
2 cups vegetable stock.

Add in rice and
a cup of water or stock.

Add in can of chopped tomatoes.

Swirl some water in the can
and pour that in to get
all the tomatoes out.
Chili powder.


Add in another cup or two
of water.
Bring to simmer.
Low heat.

While the base is cooking and developing flavor,
slice the Italian sausage.

Brown both sides in oil.

Add sausage to pot.

Chop up the
 roasted red peppers.
Add in the cooked beans 
and red peppers.
Stir around
and heat through.
Season with kosher salt,
to taste.
Season the shrimp with freshly ground pepper.

Sauté shrimp in oil
over medium high heat
until almost done. 
(Use same pan you used for sausage.)

Add shrimp to pot.

Pour some water in the hot shrimp/sausage pan and scrape up all those goodie bits.
That's all flavor.

Pour all that flavor
back into the pot.
Heat through and serve.

I like a squeeze of lime juice.

Some cilantro.

Some buttered and toasted
baguette slices.


Friday, February 4, 2022

Rosie Makes Stuffed Mushrooms.

I'm what you'd call a "make do" sort of cook.  I "make do" with whatever I have.  And what I have today is some leftover mushrooms, some sausage, and some spinach.  I believe I have breakfast.  Or a lovely appetizer.

What you'll need:
Parmigiano Reggiano
No Parm?   Try mozzarella.
Panko breadcrumbs 

I'm not giving you exact amounts because there are none. And there's no "recipe."
Just work with me here.

Brown some sausage in a medium skillet, breaking it up with a spatula.

While the sausage is cooking prepare the mushrooms.
Scoop out the stems ...
... leaving a fillable cap.

Save the stems.
Choppy choppy on the stems and maybe add in a whole mushroom or two for good measure.

Add some butter to the sausage.

Chop some onion too.

Add in the chopped onions ...
... and the chopped mushrooms to the sausage.
And let that cook for a couple minutes, stirring.

Get a big handful of spinach.

Chop up that spinach and ...
... add it to the sausage, onions, and mushroom mixture.

Stir it around and let the spinach wilt.
About a minute.
Ready to stuff.

Spoon sausage mixture into caps, mounding.
Fill up caps.

Sprinkle grated Parmigiano Reggiano over top.
Parmigiano Reggiano is the real deal.  "Parmesan" is the bastard American cousin.
Use Parmigiano Reggiano.
Here's where I explained about Parmigiano Reggiano in case you're interested.

Sprinkle on some breadcrumbs.

Ready for the oven.  

Oh wait!  For some extra flavor, pour a little sherry in the pan if you like, just so it steams and infuses the mushrooms with its alcoholic goodness.

Bake at 350° for about 13 minutes.  Until the cheese is nicely melted and golden.