Red Beans & Rice for Mardi Gras | Chef Dez

By Chef Dez | Mar 05, 2014

Yesterday, March 4, was the Fat Tuesday celebration of Mardi Gras. It is the last day of the carnival season in New Orleans and always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday every year.

The term “Fat Tuesday” represents the last day of eating richer fattier foods before the ritual fasting of Lent that begins on the Ash Wednesday, March 5.

To help you celebrate this annual event at your dinner table, I have provided you with my very popular recipe for Louisiana Red Beans & Rice.

Usually Red Beans & Rice would be served on Mondays, as it was historically prepared with the leftover bones from a traditional Sunday ham supper.

However this recipe is a delicious one pot meal and great served any time. Happy Cooking!

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

1 lb raw Italian sausages – hot or mild

2 celery stalks, diced small

1 medium onion, diced small

1 medium red bell pepper, diced small

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 cups long grain white rice

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 18 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Fresh thyme, for garnish

Squeeze sausages from casings into a large heavy bottomed pot. Discard empty casings.

Turn the heat to medium-high and break up sausage meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon while cooking until brown, about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium and add the celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not brown, stirring occasionally.

Add the rice. Stir to coat with the fat and cook 30 seconds until the rice becomes slightly opaque.

Add the chicken broth and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 large portions.

Chef Dez is a food columnist, culinary instructor and cookbook author. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Write to him at dez@chefdez.com or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4.

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