Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Traditional Red Beans and Rice with a Healthy Twist

Nothing says love to me like a big pot of beans simmering away on the stove-top. Red Beans and Rice is a dish I have loved all my life, way before I became a Louisiana transplant. Beans, ham, and sausage: what's not to love?

I adapted this recipe from the Cookin' Country Cajun Cookbook, a veritable wealth of Cajun recipe staples and history. Did you know that Red Beans and Rice were cooked on Mondays while the ladies did the laundry?  What a satisfying end to a long day of hard work, even today. This recipe relies on the simple but complex flavors from the Trinity: onions, celery, and green bell pepper. You chop a whole bunch of the vegetables very finely, and it all cooks down to form the richest tasting gravy that just envelopes the lovely, tender beans. Okay, now I am drooling. Thank goodness for leftovers.

Having a husband with a family history of heart disease means the pig is not always welcome around here.  I have made it my mission in life to still eat the foods I love but in a healthy way, and this recipe is no exception. So, instead of seasoning the beans with the usual ham hock, I trade off with smoked turkey legs instead. The dark meat of the turkey has the same texture and flavor as ham but with about 15% fewer calories and 25% less fat. You can also substitute any lean sausage you like or add more turkey. Now substitute brown rice for white, add a little Tabasco, and you are well on your way to a healthy, filling meal with none of the sacrifice. 

Laisser les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

P.S. I have a request in to share this amazing cornbread recipe with you. It will be your new all-time favorite. I'll keep you posted.

  1. Traditional Red Beans and Rice
  2. Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice (The best way to make perfect brown rice every time!)
  3. Cookin' Country Cajun Cookbook

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