Mardi Gras Red Beans

I made these  beans for our Mardi Gras potluck at work using Andouille (Ahn-DUE-we)  sausages, which add a spicy Cajun flavor. It’s traditionally a smoked pork sausage, brought to Louisiana by Acadian settlers. I didn’t want to eat too much pork, so bought two kinds: Niman Ranch Pork and Smoked Chicken from Open Nature (by Lucerne foods -Safeway). I liked the chicken links the best; they were spicy and not as greasy as the pork, and they were cheaper too. Trader Joe’s chicken Andouille is even better and spicier.

Fresh produce and herbs are best, but with winter prices so high for the fresh, I substituted frozen bell peppers and basil from Trader Joe’s. If using fresh basil, add it at the end of cooking.  My thyme and oregano plants are sending out new leaves, so I used them fresh.

2 Tb olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 minced garlic cloves

4 medium stalks celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped, seeds, stem and membrane removed (or substitute 1 cup frozen)

2 jalapeño peppers, remove seeds, stem and membrane and finely dice

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced

3 T fresh Italian parsley

1 Tb fresh basil, julienned, or  1 cube frozen basil

1 Tb fresh oregano, diced

6 Andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, then sliced crosswise

2 bay leaves

½  tsp red pepper flakes

10 cups water or chicken broth

4 cups dried red kidney beans

¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

salt to taste after beans are cooked

Bring water or chicken broth to a boil. If using water, use a teakettle (I had to fill the teakettle twice). Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Sauté onions, jalapeño, celery and bell pepper until soft, then add sausages and seasonings and sauté on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the hot water or chicken broth. Rinse beans well, removing broken beans and any stones, and add to water or chicken broth. Let boil for 15 minutes, stirring well to loosen any ingredients from the bottom. Pour into crock pot and let it cook all day or night, depending on whether you start it in the morning or in the evening.

When beans are tender, add 2 to 3 tsp salt to taste. Cook at least ½ hour more to let the beans and broth absorb the salt. Stir in fresh basil and parsley.

Serve over rice and with a piece of cornbread.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 20
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 97.6
  • Total Fat: 4.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 8.6 mg
  • Sodium: 677.1 mg
  • Total Carbs: 10.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g

Kale and Bean Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s another rainy day soup. I just dreamed it up and made it. Luckily everyone in the family liked it on the first try. The rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and garlic give it a lovely aroma.

I dice the kale, celery, leeks, and red bell pepper in the food processor for faster prep and cooking. Just discard the kale’s lower thick stems first.

I made this  using dried beans as well. I boiled them in chicken stock for 5 minutes, then transferred them to a crock pot and added the rest of the ingredients. I cooked it on “high” for 3-4 hours until beans and kale are tender. You can also heat the crock pot to high, then tun it to low and  let it cook  while you are at work, or overnight. This way you don’t have to worry about stirring the pot so the cheese won’t stick to the bottom! And homemade beans are so much better than canned ones!

In case there are leftovers, this soup is even better the next day, when flavors have developed even more..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

serves 8 bowls

Ingredients

½ gallon (8 cups) homemade chicken or vegetable stock Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup (plus a vegan version) (you can use boxed stock, but it won’t be as good!)

1 rind Parmesan cheese

2 bay leaves

1 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced, or 3 frozen cubes garlic

1 large leek, white and pale green parts only (you can substitute defrosted frozen leeks)

3 ribs celery

1 seeded red bell pepper

1 large carrot, chopped

¼ tsp red pepper flakes for a spicy soup. If you don’t like the heat, use just a shake.

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp fresh rosemary needles, minced

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 tsp dried thyme plus 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

several grinds black pepper

1 or 2 bunches kale, finely chopped. I chop the whole thing, leaves and ribs, excluding the thick ribs on the bottom. I’ve used Dinosaur and curly kale. You can substitute frozen chopped kale.

1 29-oz can Great Northern or cannellini (white kidney) beans OR 3 cups dry  beans

1 14-oz can artichoke hearts in water

2 to 3 teaspoons salt to taste (sea salt is nice).

2 Tb Parmesan cheese, freshly grated per bowl

Directions

Heat broth to boiling. If using dry beans, rinse in a sieve, then boil in broth for 5 minutes. Let beans soak in the hot broth while you prepare the herbs and vegetables. If using canned beans, pulse 1/2 of them in the food processor with a bit of broth to thicken the soup. (You can do the same with the dry beans when they are finished cooking.)

While broth is heating, chop  leek, onion, celery, and bell pepper in the food processor in batches, or chop finely by hand. Chop carrot by hand into sticks, then rounds..

onions and veggies

Pour olive oil into a frying pan and heat until it shimmers. Add chopped onion and cook on low for 10 minutes until it softens. Add garlic, leeks, celery, bell pepper and carrots to the pan. Cook until the vegetables start to soften. Stir red and black pepper, oregano, sage, and rosemary into the onions and cook a few minutes more.

chopped kale

Discard the tough bottom stems, then chop the kale finely or pulse in food processor. Stir kale. bay leaves and Parmesan rind into soup. Stir in onion mixture. Let cook 20 minutes on medium, until kale is tender, or set in crock pot for several hours.

If using dry beans, simmer for 3-4 hours until beans and kale are tender. You can also heat the crock pot to high, then tun it to low and let it cook all the day or overnight.

Chop artichoke hearts and stir into soup.  Add salt to taste. Discard Parmesan rinds and bay leaves before serving.