Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rice and Beans with Kielbasa Sausage

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy

1½ cups* brown rice (or substitute with your favorite long grain rice)
3 oz. turkey kielbasa sausage**, chopped
1 15-oz. can kidney beans
1 14-oz. can chicken broth or 1-2/3 cups chicken broth
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 leek (white part only), small dices
1 shallot, minced
½ t white pepper
½ t dried thyme
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
pinch of salt

* If using the plastic cup that came with the rice cooker, use two cups full.

** Fully cooked sausages make it easier for this recipe. But if you use raw, boil your sausage for about 20 minutes before pan searing it with the vegetables.

Rinse rice and then place in rice cooker or medium saucepan with broth. Start to cook rice. (If you’re not using a rice cooker, bring rice and broth to a boil and then reduce to simmer.)

In a saute pan, warm olive oil over medium high heat. Add shallot and saute until translucent (about 1 minute) and then add bell pepper and leek and season with salt. Continue cooking for another minute and then add sausages. Let the juices from the sausages blend with the vegetables and season with pepper and thyme. Turn off heat and set aside.

When your rice starts to boil, add the vegetables and sausages from your saute pan into rice cooker. Mix well; cover and continue cooking.

Rinse your beans and cilantro (optional) and set aside to drain. About 10 minutes before your rice is done, mix in the beans and cilantro to the rice cooker to finish the dish.

When your rice is done (check to see if rice kernel is plump and soft), turn off heat and serve.
Makes 6 servings.

Serve with a glass of Shiraz (unless you’re at work, then stick with iced tea).

TIP: It’s ideal to cook with a rice cooker since it’s simple and doesn’t need constant attention. But if you don’t have a rice cooker, you can use a pot or saucepan that’ll fit all the ingredients. To cook rice in a pan, bring the rice to a boil (making sure the broth covers the rice about a half-inch over) and then simmer until done. This varies but should take about 25 to 35 minutes. (Longer for brown rice.) But when you add other ingredients to the rice, the cooking time may take a bit longer (maybe an additional 10 minutes). Check to see if the rice is done when the broth is virtually evaporated and absorbed into the rice, making it plump.

AROMATHERAPY: Cilantro has an incredibly fresh aroma that makes any dish more enticing, in my opinion. However, I know some people who are extremely turned off by the smell of cilantro. If you’re one of them, just substitute with another fresh herb like basil or Italian parsley. Also, if you want to retain more of the scent of the cilantro or herb, mix it in after the dish is done instead of with the beans. When it’s cooked with the beans, the herb gets absorbed into the rice but loses its punch. You decide how much aroma you want your rice and bean dish to pack.

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