Monday, July 23, 2007

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

It's hot. So rather than spending time over a scalding stovetop or sweat-inducing grill, why not call on your slow cooker? Plug in the ol' Crock Pot and whip up a hearty Cajun meal that's easy and inexpensive.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.
Serves 4 to 6.

3 cups water
2 cups dried red kidney beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 (14-ounce) package turkey, pork, and beef smoked sausage, thinly sliced (such as Healthy Choice)
1 bay leaf
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Combine first 12 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid; cook on high heat for 5 hours. Discard bay leaf; stir in salt. Serve over rice; sprinkle servings evenly with green onions.

Wine Pairing:This hearty dish screams out for a bold rustic red. Since Louisiana is not exactly Wine Country, I pour a Spanish red to accompany this dish. For a wine pairing dinner in 2006, I opened bottled of Palacios Remondo's La Vendimia Rioja. Plenty of fruit, but also enough oaky backbone to stand up to the spice of the dish. How do you say "Let the good times roll" in Spanish?

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