Creole Red Beans & Rice

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Creole Red Beans & Rice

Postby Verdant » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:46 pm

I still can't believe Bush didn't mention Katrina in his State of the Union address. I was in New Orleans for Halloween 2003 and have very fond memories of hot weather, hot food, and hot men. Though I'm vegetarian, I still love the food of New Orleans. And it isn't *that* hard to find vegetarian versions of New Orleans classics.

Chuck Taggart's Red Beans and Rice is a great intro to the cuisine.

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Here's a closer look at the assorted spices. Clockwise from the top is garlic powder, sweet basil, oregano, onion powder, cayenne, black peppercorns, thyme, and celery seed. In the center is paprika, the leading spice in the dish by volume.

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Instead of a mock-sausage, I went with thinly sliced tempeh, marinated in soy sauce, tabasco sauce, and thyme. I discovered this combo by happy accident a while ago. This actually tastes a good deal like a cross between bacon and sausage. Yes, really!

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Due to the tabasco sauce and thyme, the marinade flavor isn't very Asian at all, despite the soy sauce.

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I've tried salt and water as a marinade for tempeh used in non-Asian dishes, and it just doesn't compare. Plus the soy sauce gives it such rich color when fried.

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For the most meat-like flavor, it's imperative that you slice the tempeh very thinly (1/4 inch at least, less preferred). Otherwise, only the outer layer will be fried, leaving a moist center which won't taste as much like bacon/sausage. It's inevitable that some slices will be a bit too thin. Don't worry. Crumble them into small bits, let them soak in the leftover marinade, then fry them up after the slices are all done.

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There was some serious volume to this mixture of onions, green bell peppers, and celery. I kept the heat on high for a good while and stirred well. There was plenty of water from the veggies to prevent scorching.

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After adding vegetable broth and the creole spice mixture, I let the pot stew for a while before adding the beans. I used canned beans, which would've disintegrated if they had been added to the pot too early.

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Dried kidney beans that had been soaked overnight would've been ideal, as the flavors would've penetrated the beans more. But I decided on this dish in the middle of day rather than the night before.

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Creole Red Beans and Rice served with Steamed Lacinato Kale

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Verdant
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