A Creole comfort classic gets updated: Red Beans and Rice made grain free with cauliflower.
Alternate title: The trinity, the trifecta, and the amen. Let me explain:
The Cajun & Creole kick continues! You may recall that in Donna’s recent Shrimp and Quinoa Creole post, the Apron Strings team was preparing to hit NOLA. Last weekend was the big (easy) event, and of course it was a nonstop food fanatic’s wonderland. Just taking in all the glorious restaurants is a culinary adventure in itself, but we got to take it a step further, via a class at the New Orleans Cooking Experience. Would recommend!
Less interactive than other stand-alone cooking classes we’ve taken together, the evening was nonetheless equal parts entertaining and educational. Chef Janice “Boo” Macomber regaled us with family recipes demonstrations, anecdotes from her shrimp camp, and the occasional off-color joke, all the while tossing out tidbits and tips for bringing authentic Cajun flavor into your own kitchen – and we got to devour the results of her demonstrations (the best part, of course).
Pretty much any home cook who has passing familiarity with either Creole/Cajun cooking or the Food Network knows what the Trinity is by now, right? Chef Boo adds three other shortcut references, all of which are used liberally in her biographical, homespun cookbook (her chef’s jacket is embroidered with “High Priestess of the Bayou”). If the ingredient list includes the Trifecta, you know you need to add salt, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. The Resurrection adds 6 cloves (or “toes”) of garlic to the Trinity. And adding Amen means finishing with a liberal sprinkle of chopped scallions and fresh parsley.
I came home with a craving for one of my favorite Creole classics: red beans and rice. This dish is so quintessentially New Orleans, Louis Armstrong used to sign his letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours.” I thought I’d make it grain-free (and reduce the carbs a bit) by incorporating cauliflower rice, and lighten it up a bit more with chicken andouille. It’s still every bit the deeply flavorful comfort food. The ham hock adds smoky depth, and the beans make it creamy without a bit of dairy. And like so many other slow foods, it tastes even better the next day.
Red Beans and Cauliflower Ricely Yours,
Anne and Donna
- 1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight
- 2 tablespoons cooking fat (your choice of oil, schmaltz, whatever you prefer), divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced,
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 ham hock, preferably smoked
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 cups water or low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 andouille chicken sausages, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 glugs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2-3 green onions, chopped
- Tabasco or other cayenne pepper sauce to taste
- After the beans have soaked, drain and rinse and transfer to a large stockpot. Cover with several inches of water and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce slightly to a more gentle one. Boil for about 45-55 minutes, until beans are tender. Do all your veggie prep during this time, of course!
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high. Add Trinity and saute for 7-9 minutes. Remove one cup of the vegetables and set aside! Add garlic to pot and saute for another couple of minutes, then add ham hock and bay leaves. Add enough water or chicken stock to cover contents of pot. Cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Now, use a potato masher to smash about ⅓ of the beans, and stir to incorporate the creamy beans into the rest of the mix. Then add sausages and Trifecta (salt, cayenne and Worcestershire, remember?). At this point you can remove the ham hock (slicing off some of the meat and adding it back into the pan if you prefer). Cook for another 30 minutes.
- While that cooks, prep the cauliflower rice! Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it's about the size of rice. Heat remaining oil in a saute pan. Add reserved cup of Trinity and saute just until warm, then stir in the cauliflower and garlic powder. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.
- Now all that's left is the Amen! Stir some of it into the red beans and rice, and reserve a little to top it all off! Serve the beans on a bed of the cauliflower rice and add Tabasco to taste.
Other Red Beans and Rice riffs from bloggers:
Vegan Red Beans and Rice from Budget Bytes
Jamaican Red Beans and Rice from Skinnytaste
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
— posted by Anne