Red Beans and Rice are made from dried beans and fresh ingredients. But “Can They Be as Good as Popeye’s?”
Do you have a favorite “guilty pleasure” that comes from a fast food restaurant?
Fess up! One of mine is red beans and rice from Popeye’s.
Admittedly, it’s rather humiliating when your standard of excellence for a certain food is a fast food joint. But it’s true.
And it’s not just me. My whole family wants red beans and rice that remind us of Popeye’s.
My son is pretty sure I would never put as much fat as necessary to make my red beans taste like theirs. He might be right. But this recipe is so tasty and fresh, I don’t miss it.
Since the Super Bowl includes the New Orleans Saints, Cajun food seems appropriate this week. Furthermore, the cold, rainy weather we’ve had lately is one more reason to think about cooking red beans and rice. Not that I need an excuse.
Here’s a couple of tips:
The secret is in the sausage.
With that in mind, buy the real andouille sausage, if possible. I love the turkey andouille from Whole Foods. If you can’t find andouille, go with kielbasa.
Note the long soak time with lots of SALT!
Although skeptical at first, I’m now a believer. Don’t worry. It gets rinsed off.
- 1 pound small red beans, rinsed and picked over
- 4 slices bacon, chopped fine
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, seed and finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon if substituting dried)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (I used smoked paprika)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Ground black pepper
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 6 cups water
- 8 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
- Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl. Add beans and allow to soak from 8 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Fry bacon until brown and crispy. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Saute until softened.
- Stir in seasonings (garlic, thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne pepper and ground black pepper) and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Stir in beans, broth and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 1 hour. Beans should be just tender and liquid starting to thicken.
- Stir in diced sausage and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Continue cooking beans another 30 minutes until tender and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve over long-grain rice.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 168 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 18mg Sodium: 335mg Carbohydrates: 13g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g Protein: 10g
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