Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Re-fried Beans

Wow it has been a while since I posted anything so lets get going with a recipe that works as a side and as an ingredient. Now this will work in any pan but if you have read anything here you know that I think it tastes better when made in cast iron. In my house re-fried beans don't last very long and are used as dip and taco ingredients.

The recipe
1 pound pinto beans rinsed and soaked (black beans also work and you can use canned)
1 large onion diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers minced
2-3 Tbs lard(can use vegetable oil if you are scared of lard)
salt to taste

First saute onion and jalapeno in lard till onion is translucent, pour beans into pan and heat through. take a standard issue potato masher and work beans till they are mostly mashed but with big lumps throughout. salt to taste serve as side with shredded cheese or with tortilla chips.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The last recipe I posted needs good cornbread. Most southern food does, I am a firm believer that even a mediocre recipe can taste better when baked properly in a cast iron pan.

One of the ways that red beans and rice is served down south is to place the rice in the bowl, then break up the cornbread and pour the beans over the top of it all. Then spice things up with a splash of hot pepper vinegar.
Serve this with a side of collard or turnip greens and you have an authentic southern dish that will please most people.

1 cup self rising cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (optional but not really)
2 eggs beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
Pre-heat oven to 425.
Mix every thing until just moistened.
Spread 2 tablespoons butter or margarine evenly over cast iron pan (I like to use my square skillet).
Place pan in oven to melt butter. Once pan is pre-heated pour in batter and bake until golden brown. Check at 30 minutes.

In experimenting  with recipes I have found that sweet cornbread always tastes best with savory dishes.
You can also add corn and cheese and chopped green chillies for variety.
If you like the cornbread alone try serving it with good old fashioned honey butter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Red beans and rice

Now I live in Idaho but I became a fan of rice when I lived in Louisiana (properly pronounced loosiana). This is an inexpensive meal that folks down there eat daily. One benefit is when you make it folks that aren't from Louisiana think it's gourmet food, to me this is just good everyday grub.

Start with the beans now it doesn't matter to me if you use canned or dried I have done both and gotten perfectly acceptable results. I will list canned. If you want to try dried go right ahead.

2 cans of red beans (wal-mart has kidney beans and red beans use either)
1 pound smoked sausage (again if you want to be authentic use andouille sausage but smoked beef sausage is easier to find)
kosher salt to taste for the beans (beans take in a lot of salt be sure to taste for seasoning)
1 tablespoon of your favorite Cajun seasoning (again use what you like I prefer tony chachere's creole seasoning)
2 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce (whatever flavor you like)
if you are a little afraid of the heat you can lower the Cajun seasoning and Tabasco but try it first as I have been  told my version of this is mild.

Cook the beans until tender. At this point I will mash a few of the beans cause that is the way I like my red beans and rice. Heat the sausage in a separate pan until most of the fat has rendered out.

Add sausage to beans, do not drain. The beans will absorb most if not all the fat, if you mashed some first and that has flavor you don't want to throw out. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Cook 3 cups of rice according to instructions. If you like a little flavor in your rice add chicken broth or other spices in addition to the salt for the rice. Remember with rice add salt if you think you are over salting you are probably just about right.

To serve place rice in bowl and spoon beans and sausage over add some cornbread and a salad on the side and you have a great meal. (tip for the cornbread pre-heat your greased cast iron skillet for the best results even if you use a mix.)