Saturday, June 25, 2011

Red Beans and Yum

This just in!

I've been clearing my cupboards for those half used bags of what not, and decided to put these year old kidney beans to good use in a little something inspired by the red beans and rice I've had on trips to N'awlins in years past. Not much in the mood for meat these days, as bad climate change news is keeping me on the straight and narrow as far as habits go. Cutting meat out of your diet is one of the big ones as far as carbon emissions go, and I was afraid the flavor would take a hit, but with a little help from my friends, and some yummy chipotle powder I got from a friend, it was just perfect! I also substituted rice with bulgur, as it was also laying around in the cupboard, as well as it being healthier.

You'll need:
2 cups of kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 can/box of crushed tomatoes
1 bell pepper, your choice of color, diced
1 yellow onion, sliced or diced how you want 'em
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and sliced or diced
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
flour for thickening

Start by sauteing the onion, garlic and bell pepper in some olive oil in a pot. When they're soft and glassy, throw in the spices for a good mix around. Add the beans, bay leaves, tomatos and a little salt. Fill your pot with water until the ingredients are covered, and let simmer for 20-30 min. I used my pressure cooker since the beans were old-ish, and probably needed a little help. When it's about done, get your bulgur going, as much as you need for as many people as you are, it's usually half bulgur/half water. Taste the beans and add salt and pepper as needed. If it's a little runny, mix som flour with a little water in a bowl and add the mixture slowly over heat until it thickens.

That's it. Serve it up, pick out the bay leaves if you've got kids, and enjoy!

ps - I happened to add some pimentos that I had in a jar, and I added that along with the pimento water. I like the pimento flavor, but the water made it too acidic. I rememdied this by throwing in a teaspoon of baking soda at the very end. It neutralized the flavor just fine, but if you want to make this addition as well, I'd recommend a little caution!