Monday, October 24, 2011

Red Beans & Rice (tribute to The Half Shell)


Many dishes that come out of this kitchen are inspired by various restaurant dishes here in Memphis & this one is no exception.  The Half Shell, a locally owned seafood bar & grill, has a Red Beans & Rice dish that Memphians rave about.  And since my husband & I had our first date there, I felt this was the perfect dish to re-create, at home.  It's packed with flavor from the cajun seasoning, which coats the beans in a warm sauce, that soothes & pleases any appetite.  And it's all sitting on top of a bed of fluffy white rice, just begging to be stirred together.  This ultimate comfort food, will bring you & your family around the table, time and again.  

Ingredients: 
4 T butter 
1/4 cup flour
2 cans kidney beans, with juice
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 red onion onions, diced
1/2 cup diced ham
1lb andouille sausage, sliced
salt & pepper to taste (suggestion 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper)
1 T cajun seasoning (see below)

In a dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter & whisk in flour til incorporated.  This takes time & patience, about 20 mins to get that caramel color roux that you want.  Be sure to keep stirring it, so it doesn't burn.  Once it reaches that caramel color, add in your beans, stock, red onions, ham, sausage, cajun seasoning, salt & pepper to taste.  

Rice
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Over mid high heat, in a dutch oven or largest pot you have, add oil.  Toast rice in oil til it simmers, maybe 2 - 3 mins. Add water & salt, bring to a boil. Once its reach a rolling boil turn down to low & cover (do not uncover it while its cooking). Set a timer for 20 mins, walk away.  If after 20 mins, you taste it & its not done add more stock & reduce longer. Let stand for 5 mins off heat. 

Cajun Season
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp allspice
1 oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 chili powder
1 smoked paprika
1 sweet paprika
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
*if you prefer heat, you can add 1 tsp cayenne to this (optional)

Combine in a bowl & set aside.  I did pulse mine in a small food processor for about 15 seconds.

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