Meatless Red Beans and Rice

red beans 

A vegetarian version of the flavorful New Orleans Red Beans and Rice, elsewhere on the website.  Trader Joe’s spicy meatless chorizo is packed with flavor but the texture leaves a lot to be desired.  Whole Foods meatless chorizo has less flavor but holds together well.  This recipe calls for some of each, but you can choose one or the other. For a much milder version, use a meatless kielbasa or Italian sausage rather than the chorizo. The smoked paprika provides the smokiness that is missing from the chorizo.

3-4 Tbs. olive oilchorizo
8oz. meatless chorizo – we like a combination of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods
1 T smoked paprika
1 C chopped onion (about 1 medium)
3 medium celery stalks with leaves, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium green or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 C cooked Anasazi or red beans (see below)
Bean cooking liquid or low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups rice of your choice
Hot pepper sauce, for serving (optional)

Heat 1 T oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and papkika and cook until chorizo is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove and reserve.  Add remaining olive oil and heat; add onions, celery, bell pepper, onion, the bay leaf, thyme, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the cooked beans and ½ C liquid, reserving more as needed. Return cooked chorizo to the pan.  Stir to mix well. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer very gently until bean mixture bubbles, adding liquid as necessary to keep beans moist but not soupy.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water to a boil in a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the rice and 1-1/2 tsp. salt, stir once, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes

Discard the bay leaf from the beans, stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and hot pepper sauce. Serve the beans over the rice, with the hot pepper sauce.

COOKING THE BEANS: You may use canned beans, drain but do not rinse.  Two cans will yield slightly less than four coups. Cooked dried beans produce better flavor and you can control the tenderness of the beans. One pound will yield eight cups of cooked beans. To cook anasazi beans, simply place dried beans in water to cover, by about ½ inch; add three garlic cloves, ½ t each salt and pepper. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook approximately 60 minutes until beans are soft but not mushy.  Let them cool in the cooking liquid. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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