I like shortcuts. Always have. The problem for me in using shortcuts in real life, like say driving, is that I have absolutely no sense of direction. I’m that person who takes the same route to places every…single…time. Because if I don’t, I also become that person who is later saying “Honest, I MEANT to take three hours to get back home. I was looking at all the houses in this neighborhood. It was totally my plan to drive past each house 46 times before I got back onto the main road.” I have to take a route about 10 times, then I have it down pat and won’t change even if they have torn the road up, closed it down and are using dynamite to fix it. Better dynamite than lost in the desert for 40 years. I’m pretty sure the Jews back in Old Testament days wandered the desert for 40 years because someone suggested an alternate route.
When it comes to cooking though, I love shortcuts. When you have six kids waiting for food approximately 15 times a day, you have to come up with ways to feed them quickly. Sometimes this means taking old tried and true recipes and *GASPS* using things that are a bit more processed to speed things up. Case in point is this recipe for red beans and rice. Mind you, I love making them the old fashioned way; letting my dry beans soak overnight, making a 45 minute slowly browned roux and so on and so forth. Thing is, I have learned over 38 years of cooking (I started cooking when I was about ten) that sometimes, when you use shortcuts, you end up with a meal that is just as tasty as the old fashioned way. These beans are one of those times. Canned beans and a quick roux that’s made in the microwave (yes, you can do a roux in the microwave. Have I steered you wrong yet?) make this a weeknight meal that you don’t have to fuss much over. This is very meaty, filling and tastes fantastic. This doesn’t have a ton of extra ingredients. Between the meats, the veggies and the Cajun seasoning, this is extremely flavorful.
You know the drill. Git to cookin’.
Quick & Easy Three Meat Red Beans & Rice
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 4 15 ounce cans red beans, 2 cans drained, 2 with liquid left in them
- 1 lb fresh andouille sausage, casings removed, crumbled (buy the real thing, not smoked andouille. I found mine at Whole Foods Market)
- 1 lb chorizo sausage (the Mexican style, not the hard Spanish style.)
- 1 lb ham, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons good quality Cajun seasoning (check the ingredients; most use a TON of salt & it is the 1st ingredient. McCormicks makes a good one.)
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Franks. I like that it isn’t just hot but has a distinct flavor)
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 2 cups white rice, made according to the directions on the bag
- Make your roux- in a large glass bowl (one that you know can handle time in the microwave, combine your flour and oil. Stir well. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, uncovered. It should be a nice light brown by this point and have a yummy nutty smell.
- Stir well, making sure to get the sides of the bowl. Microwave again for about another 1 to 2 minutes, watching through the door the whole time to make sure it doesn’t burn. By the end of 6 minutes maximum (unless you have a low wattage microwave, in which case the process will take longer), you should have a nice dark brown roux..
- Carefully add your vegetables (and garlic) to the roux and stir well. Put back in the microwave and saute for about 3 minutes. Slowly stir in about 1/3 cup of hot water.
- In a large pot, over medium high heat, brown your meats, one type at a time. Do the ham first, then the andouille, then the chorizo. The reason for this is that chorizo has a stronger taste and you don’t want the other meats picking up it’s flavor but instead keep each meats distinct taste.
- Pour the roux mixture into the pot. Stir well, then add the beans, Cajun seasoning, tomatoes and hot sauce. Stir again, cover pot and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently and lowering heat if necessary to prevent sticking. You can simmer this for as little as 30 minutes if you’re in a hurry or as long as a couple of hours. It’s a very forgiving dish. It’s also amazing a day or two later, reheated.
- Serve over bowls of rice, garnished with onions.
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