Red Beans and Rice (and Pork)


Lately, I’ve been exploring vegetarian dinner options so we don’t use up all our meat in the freezer too quickly. One recipe I found in my cut-and-paste recipe binder came from the Grand Rapids Press newspaper, but it had no name or date attached. Thanks to Google, I found it on Cooksrecipes.com. Turns out it came from the American Dry Bean Board.

Okay, so it’s not really a vegetarian recipe. Let’s just say I’m weaning my carnivorous instincts from meat-focused meals. And testing the results of meat deprivation on my digestive tract. (For more about my stance on meat, read Stirring the Pot Before Thanksgiving.)

As usual, I altered the recipe. While it calls for bacon and turkey sausage, I skipped the bacon because I didn’t have any, and used ground pork, leftover from Sunday’s breakfast sausages, instead of turkey. For vegetarians, you could omit the meat completely and it would be quite yummy, I’m sure. (I’ll test that version the next time I get more gutsy about going meatless.)

Other substitutions include:

  • Red bell pepper instead of green
  • Half yellow onion, plus half red onion instead of all yellow
  • Dash of cayenne instead of jalapeno pepper, which is too hot for me
  • Olive oil instead of vegetable oil
  • Dried red beans (soaked overnight, rinsed, then cooked for an hour with no lid) rather than canned (Thank you, Facebook friends!)

  • Greens: I used the rest of the kale in our garden–still standing in November!
  • Rice: Bill chose brown basmati rice. I’m sure it would be just as good with white rice or quinoa.

Here’s the recipe.

Dressed Up Red Beans and Rice

3 slices bacon, diced
4 ounces turkey smoked sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño chili
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 ounces) red beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged red beans, rinsed, drained
2 cups sliced kale, turnip or mustard greens
2 cups cooked rice, room temperature

Cook bacon in large skillet until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes; add smoked sausage and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño chili, and garlic; sauté 2 to 3 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Stir in vinegar, sugar, oil, salt, and pepper; heat to simmering. Stir in beans and cook until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in kale and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon rice onto serving plates; spoon bean mixture over rice.

Makes 4 servings (about 1 cup each).

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