If I can’t make it to a real live Dai Due event, at least I can purchase their fine charcuterie. Wednesday we picked up a pound of hand-made venison sausage. Four naturally encased links filled with Broken Arrow Ranch‘s field harvested (wild!) deer meat and Richardson Farms pork. Subtle seasonings allowed this cook to put ’em in the bean pot for red beans and rice. Today’s Monday, after all.
QUICK RED BEANS AND RICE—-The only thing authentically Louisiana about this batch o’ beans is that I cooked it on a Monday!
- 1 pound local sausage links, preferably from grass-fed animals
- ½ Tablespoon high smoke point oil, such as Spectrum’s organic peanut oil, or local lard. Dai Due’s rendered pork fat is toasty and tasty.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, lard or other flavorful fat (local and/or organic preferably). See “Stock Tips” for my fat saving technique.
- a couple of onions, chopped how you like. Whatever color you have will work.
- a couple of bell peppers, chopped as you please, any colors.
- 1 whole (uncut) jalapeno, serrano or other spicy pepper. Go ahead and chop it up if you don’t have kids.
- a couple of bay leaves—We’ve been growing a bay leaf bush for about a dozen years. If you have space for this small tree, go for it. You can’t beat fresh bay leaves for flavoring up almost any dish, even some desserts.
- fresh thyme and marjoram—These herbs grow well in pots if your garden space is limited.
- lots of chopped garlic. Morning Glory Farm plans to bring their last little bit of local stinkin’ rose to Sunset Valley Farmers Market next Saturday. We’ll see which locavores get there first!
- celery analog–I have yet to get some cutting celery growing. Of course we’re not finding local celery right now, and even in season celery makes rare appearances around here. So I often throw some celery seeds into preparations that require that saline/herbal flavor. Whatever you have on hand, add an appropriate amount (plenty of celery or just a dash or so of celery seeds).
- 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika, unsmoked is OK.
- 2 cans (15 oz.) organic red beans. Whole Foods is selling Westbrae canned beans for $1 each. At that price you can’t afford not to go organic!
- a couple good splashes of red wine vinegar
- a good spoonful of sorghum, cane syrup, or molasses
- plenty of salt
- lots of freshly cracked black pepper
Cook your sausage. Heat up a large (12″) skillet on high heat. Add your grease, swirl to coat the pan, then lay in your links. Brown them on one side, flip ’em over and brown on the other side. Turn the heat down a touch to minimize smoking. I try to brown the sausages on their outer curves, also, but the links don’t always cooperate. Pour in a cup or so of liquid (water, broth or beer). It should bubble up right away. Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove links from the broth (reserve the liquid), and set aside.
In a large (3-quart at least) saucepan, heat up the 2 Tablespoons of oil or fat and saute the next seven ingredients. When your aromatics have softened, stir in the paprika for a half minute. Pour in the liquid from the beans, plus the sausage cooking broth. Bring to a boil, then add the beans and the next three ingredients, to taste. Simmer a bit to blend the flavors and cook out the raw vinegar’s sharpness. When it’s just right, turn off the heat and add the sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces, and black pepper. Stir it up. Of course, if fresh parsley and green onions are in season, at the markets or in your backyard, chop up a bunch and sprinkle over your beans.