Red Beans and Rice

Some of the best and most comforting meals are often those that are the simplest. This recipe is one that I have done countless times. Not only is it delicious, but it is a great recipe when on a budget. It's also really nutritious, being a complete protein. Red kidney beans are full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Just a 1/2- cup serving has 8 grams each of protein and fiber — all for about 100 calories, and close to no fat.


Ingredients:


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 large celery stalk, chopped

1 small red pepper, cored and chopped

10 ounces cooked ham or andouille sausage (optional)

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 Tablespoon of Paprika

1 teaspoon of Cayenne

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

About 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound of dried red beans (soaked overnight -or- Two 15 -ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups water

2 cups long-grain white rice

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

Fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish


Directions

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium, heat the oil. If you are using meat, this is when you start cooking it. When browning your sausage or ham on all sides, about 4 minutes, you'll probably see fond collect on the bottom of the pan and that's okay. Fond = Flavor, but be careful not to burn it, we want that flavor.


Now is when you add the onion, celery, red pepper, and optional meat, and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Make sure you use your spoon to loosen all the fond from the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic, spices and thyme, then cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken broth and kidney beans, bring to a simmer, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high, bring the water to a simmer. Add the rice and a pinch of salt, then cover and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.

Once the beans are done, taste and season with salt, pepper. Spoon the rice into serving bowls, then top with the beans and fresh parsley.


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