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Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Red beans and rice is one of the signature dishes of New Orleans, a city rich with the influences of Latin America and the Caribbean. Indeed, that’s why Louis Armstrong, New Orleans’s pioneering cultural ambassador to the world, used to sign off his letters, “Red beans and ricely yours….”
Now that virtually all of us everywhere enjoy red beans and rice, I didn’t see why I couldn’t turn this classic into a delicious soup. All it took was the addition of celery, onion, and bell pepper (aka the holy trinity of New Orleans, Cajun, and Creole cooking), a little Creole seasoning, and some chicken stock. I loved it the very first time I made it.
Leave out the sausage and ham and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock, and you’ve got a lean vegetarian version of this winner.
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Medium chop the ham (about 1 1/3 cups) and add to the saucepan; cook until the ham is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, medium chop the onion (about 2 cups), celery (about 2 cups), and bell pepper (about 1½ cups). Add the onion to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until it is lightly browned. Add the celery and bell pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Press the garlic (about 1 tablespoon) into the vegetables in the saucepan; stir in the Creole Seasoning and cook for 1 minute more.
3. Halve the sausage lengthwise and slice it crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces (about 3 cups); rinse and drain the beans. Add the chicken stock, sausage, beans, ham, and bay leaf to the vegetable mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf, stir in the rice, heat, and serve.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
Nutritional information does not include Creole Seasoning or Homemade Chicken Stock. For nutritional information on Creole Seasoning or Homemade Chicken Stock, please follow the links above.
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