Beans and rice are inexpensive, nutritious foods that, when combined, form a complete protein. Your body needs protein to build and repair tissue AND you need to eat. This simple but satisfying dish is high in protein, iron, dietary fiber and B complex vitamins. When visiting New Orleans this month and still very limited in what I can eat following bariatric surgery, I chose a cup of beans & rice at most restaurants I visited. (#BariHack- loads of protein and the soupiness makes it very easy to eat.) The dish is available everywhere, very tasty and usually offered in the small portion I was looking for. It was less than $5.
In researching the origins of the dish, I discovered that Mondays have historically been the day associated with Red Beans and Rice in the Crescent City. Why? Well Mondays were traditionally laundry day. Since this was a weekly chore and completed by hand in olden times, it took the greater part of the day. Ladies needed a nutritious dinner that they didn't have to devote much attention to. A culinary masterpiece and tradition were born.
The restaurant who's version I enjoyed the most was a fun but touristy joint on Julia Street: Mulate's. Billed as "The Original Cajun Restaurant" it was packed late on a Sunday night and filled with live Zydeco music. To be fair, it was the only version I had that was made with spicy sausage, but I loved it and tried to recreate it below. Give it a whirl and see if you don't start adding it to your Monday routine, too.
Red Beans and Rice (A Nod to Mulate's Restaurant in NOLA)
1 lb. spicy cajun sausage (I like Aidell's Cajun Style Andouille), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 sweet bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. red beans, rinsed
11 cups water
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups cooked rice (Mulate's used white, but I like brown and wild a little better)
In a stock pot, brown sliced sausage over medium-high heat, remove from pot. Add onion and sauté until it begins to brown. Add bell pepper, garlic and celery to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook until veggies have softened. Add beans, water, salt, and cayenne. Boil gently, uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add browned sausage and 1/2 cup warm, cooked rice to each bowl before serving.
Pro Tip: While I LOVE the spicy sausage, smoky Tasso ham would be a great substitute for sausage.
Pro Tip: RB&R freeze well.
@Mulates @NOLA #redbeansandrice #barihacks
I’ve been in New Orleans all week, enjoying some excellent food and wine. One of the loveliest parts of fine dining that most of us don’t think to include normally is an after-dinner drink. Many have properties to aid in the digestion of food and some are just a lovely treat. One such wine is Madeira and it’s popularity has been growing in the last few years. Again.
Madeira is a fortified wine that’s made in Portugal. They are made of different grapes and labeled with accordingly. From driest to sweetest they are: Sercial, Verdehlo, Bual and Malmsey.
When serving Madeira, be sure to have it at room temperature and never serve it over ice. Pour a few ounces into a glass, ideally with an elongated, tapered bowl. This provides plenty of room for wine to display its aromas for you to enjoy while sipping.
If you’re new to Madeira, these three are winners!
Blandy’s NV Alvada 5 Year Old Rich Madeira, $15. Not too sweet, this one boasts walnut and dried fig flavors. With a somewhat acidic finish, this would be delish served after steak or with some strong blue cheese. Amber in color.
I love the Broadbent NV Malmsey 10 Year, $49. Reminds me of Raisinettes: grapey and chocolatey with just the right amount of sweetness. This one is rich and full bodied and an excellent choice with dessert. Golden. I enjoyed a few sips after an exceptional dinner @GWFins.
My very fave is from a series of highly stylized Madeiras. Rare Wine Company NV Historic Series Charleston Sercial Reserve Madeira, $40 (pictured above). The idea of the series was to replicate America’s deep history with Madeira and each wine is named for a city where the wine was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not sweet and like an enormous mouthful of caramel.
Try a glass after dinner. Cheers!
@BlandysMadeira @Broadbent Madeira @RareWineCompany
#MadeiraWine #Portugal #NOLA #GWFins
Elizabeth Morse cooks professionally, is an Advanced Master Gardener and lover of all things local.