Since beans and rice are one of the most economical ways to stretch the budget we recently added several pounds to our growing pantry intending to have a “beans ‘n rice” night once a week.
I have to confess that, stretching the budget aside, beans n’ rice do not necessarily overwhelm me with their wonderful flavor and texture.
This recipe was one that I came up with in an effort to make them a bit more interesting.
Granted, the addition of andouille no longer makes it a budget stretcher or a meatless meal, so I have listed it as optional. If you can swing it though, it is quite nice. The chipotles are what give this dish the smokey flavor and using the amount listed, they really pack a punch. If you are sensitive to spicy things start with a smaller amount and increase to your taste. The longer they cook the hotter they get so proceed with caution.
I understand that rice is often added uncooked towards the end of the cooking time to allow it to cook in the liquid and thicken the sauce. I really don’t care for the resulting texture so we just serve ours on the side.
2 c dried kidney beans
1 # of andouille sausage (the healthy kind, as in no nitrates, nitrites, and all that jazz); optional
Bacon fat (again the healthy kind) or EVOO
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 small onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 t thyme
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c vermouth
2 c chicken broth
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 chipotle chilis in adobo
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream for garnish
Plan ahead: the night before, sort and soak your kidney beans in enough water to cover. The following morning, drain and put in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender; about two hours. Canned beans are fine, but I prefer dried because they are less expensive and still have all the nutrients lost in the canning process.
Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, remove the andouille from the casing, crumble, and brown in a small amount of fat. If your sausage is not of this sort, than simply slice thin and brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
Add the celery, onion, and carrot to the pot and saute until they begin to turn translucent, adding more grease or oil if need be. Then toss with the tomato paste and add the thyme. Cook and stir for about one minute, and then add the vermouth, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow to reduce slightly.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked beans, and sausage. Salt and pepper to taste. Add chipotle chilis and allow to simmer for at least two hours to allow flavors to deepen. The longer it sits, the better it gets.
Serve over cooked rice with a dallop of sour cream if you’d like.
Makes about 8 servings.