Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Simple Skillet Supper: Kielbasa & Smoky Beer-Rice
The smoked paprika and ancho pepper provide a subtly smoky, earthy flavor that complements the richness of the kielbasa. The alcohol in the beer will cook off so it's 100% family-friendly, but if you prefer to avoid all alcohol simply substitute water for the beer. This recipe serves 6 to 8, and any leftovers will taste even better the next day after the flavors have time to develop in the refrigerator. If you like hot and spicy foods, simply add 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes or a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce when you add the other herbs and spices. You can also use a hotter variety of dried chili pepper in place of the milder ancho chili.
1 lb (approx.) kielbasa (I recommend Weeping Radish nitrate-free kielbasa)
Optional: 1 or 2 Tbs olive oil or bacon fat
1 or 2 bay leaves
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 ancho chili pepper (dried poblano), rehydrated & chopped*
1 1/2 cups rice
1 bottle (12oz) beer
1 1/2 cups water (I include the water used to soak the ancho chili)
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika, mild or hot (aka Pimenton)**
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp (or to taste) ground black pepper
how to use dried chili peppers.
**If you don't have smoked Spanish paprika, regular paprika will work although it won't add smokiness.
In a large, deep skillet with a lid, cook the kielbasa until done (the casing should brown lightly and might "split" in some places)--the sausage should release enough fat to keep it from sticking while it cooks, but if it doesn't, you can add a little olive oil or bacon fat. While the kielbasa is cooking, chop all the vegetables. When the kielbasa is done, remove from skillet and set aside. There should be just enough fat in the skillet to saute the vegetables--if not, add a little oil or bacon fat; if there is too much fat, pour off the excess before adding the vegetables. Add the bay leaves, garlic, onion & bell pepper to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. While they're cooking, slice the kielbasa into chunks (about 1" wide) and finely chop the rehydrated ancho chili. Add the tomato & ancho chili to the other vegetables in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and the tomatoes are breaking down. Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the beer, water (including the soaking water from the chili), all the herbs & spices, and the sliced kielbasa. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit about 5 minutes then uncover, stir and serve (discard the bay leaves).