Easy Recipes From Smeag: Bayou Beans & Rice
Easy Recipes from Smeag
One of the things I loved so much about Byron's blog, back when he had time to regularly update it, was his recurring posting of recipes and tales of his cooking adventures. Byron's a great guy and this was a lovely window into his daily life - not to mention plenty of good advice to cull, for a fellow home-cooker. So, in the spirit of my busy buddy, I'm going to start occasionally posting recipes I undertake here at Elliot House. It's something I love to do, and something I'm happy to share - cooking is useful knowledge!
Given the minuscule nature of my income, many of these will be really simple recipes with inexpensive ingredients. If you're a poor college student or struggling, poorer graduate, I feel your pain. I push my microwave to its creative limits (in fact, today's recipe uses only that appliance) and make the most of nonperishable foods. I've yet to make an un-salvageable meal however - and when I cook for others, comments have thus far been unanimously positive. You can do a lot with store-brand canned food and a microwave!
And on that note, let's jump into what I cooked for dinner tonight: 'Bayou Beans & Rice.'
- 1 14-oz can of beans (kidney, pinto, whatever you like best - I used seasoned pinto beans)
- 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes (preferably with chilies!)
- 1 14-oz can of chicken broth
- 1 5-oz can of ham (chunk)
- 2 cups of instant rice (I use brown rice)
- 2 tablespoons of olive or canola oil (I use canola)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup of fresh chopped onion (or about 1/8 cup of dried chopped onion)
- Garlic powder to taste (I use a lot)
- Seasonings and spices to taste - this is a Louisiana-inspired dish so go for Cajun and spicy! I used jalapeņo, habaņero, and Tabasco sauces; chili powder; and paprika. 3/4 tsp of Cajun seasoning may do the trick for the spice-impaired.
Mix the two cups of instant rice and fourteen ounces of broth together in a large, microwave safe dish (two quarts is sufficient). Cover it (tightly) with plastic wrap and microwave for ten minutes, or until the rice is cooked. While it is microwaving, chop the pepper finely. Once the rice is cooked (it will have soaked up the broth and will smell amazing) put it into another contained - pot, dish, whatever - and cover it with foil to keep it warm.
Following this, take the dish you used to cook the rice and wipe it out, and then dump the pepper, chopped onion, and garlic powder into it. Pour the two tablespoons of oil over this stuff and stir until it's all nice and greasy. Microwave it for four minutes.
Now add the beans, tomatoes, ham, and seasonings to the dish and stir well. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and microwave it for six minutes, then remove the wrap and microwave it for another six. After this the liquid in the dish should be thickened. Pour the contents of the dish into the pot with the rice, stir well, and voila! You're done! This can serve 4-6 people, depending on how hungry you are.
For a vegetarian version of this recipe, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and forgo the ham.