Friday, January 18, 2013

Simple Skillet Supper: Spicy Red Beans & Beer Rice with Andouille Sausage

skillet red beans, rice & sausage recipe
Here's another simple dinner idea that you can throw together in about an hour and without getting all hung up on ingredient amounts. Other than the ratio of liquid to rice, everything else can be adjusted to taste and to what you have on hand. For white rice you should use 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts liquid; for brown rice use 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid.

If you prefer not to use beer, simply substitute water or broth for the beer. My version below is a gentle mild-medium in heat: Just spicy enough to be noticed, particularly after a few bites, but not hot enough to burn. For a hotter, spicier dish, add a few splashes of a Louisiana hot sauce and/or an additional or a hotter variety of chile pepper. For a milder, less spicy dish, omit the hot chile and use a whole bell pepper instead of a half.

The total preparation and cooking time should be around 1 hour or less if using white rice, and 1 hour or a little longer if using brown rice. I used brown rice for the photos here, and my total prep & cook time came in at about 1 hr 15 minutes -- but keep in mind that I also spent time taking photos and jotting down notes, so even with brown rice it will probably take you little more than an hour.

1 lb Andouille sausage (I used Weeping Radish Andouille)
Optional oil or fat for frying (not needed if sausage releases enough fat)
1 bay leaf
Minced garlic: I used 6 cloves
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 red Fresno chile OR jalapeno (or other hot pepper), minced
1 large (or 2 medium) tomato, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning (e.g., Slap Ya Mama or Emeril's seasoning)
1 1/2 cups rice*
12 oz beer, preferably a full-bodied golden lager (I used Weeping Radish Corolla Gold)
3/4 cup water
1 can (15.5) red kidney beans, drained & rinsed.

Spicy red beans & rice with andouille sausage*See note at top re: white vs. brown rice. The quantities listed here assume white rice.

Slice the sausage diagonally about 3/4" thick and cook in a deep large skillet at medium-high until lightly browned. Add bay leaf, garlic, onion & celery and saute until softened & translucent - if the sausage is very lean, you may need to add a little oil or fat to the pan (I added a dollop of bacon fat). Add peppers and saute until softened. Stir in tomato, thyme & Creole seasoning and cook until tomato is breaking down. Stir in rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add beer & water, stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed: about 30 to 35 minutes for white rice, and 45 to 50 minutes for brown rice. Uncover, stir in the beans and cook on medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Taste for balance; if desired, you can add more seasoning, or salt & pepper, or hot sauce. Makes 6 generous servings, and tastes even better the next day.

Zestfully yours,

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