Mardi Gras is this week and the masses will be flocking to New Orleans to party, eat and drink...I wanted to have a little taste of New Orleans at home since I won't be making it to the Big Easy this year.
The flavors of New Orleans or some of the most distinct, complex and delicious in America. As a vegetarian I have had to find ways to enjoy dishes like the traditional Red Beans and Rice without the meat but the same depth of flavor. Here is my New Orleans inspired take on this classic.
3 cups long grain brown rice, cooked
2 cans low sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup crushed or diced tomatoes
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 tbs. hot sauce, such as Tabasco
2 tbs. olive oil
1 jalapeno, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. old bay seasoning
1 bay leaf
Sea salt to taste
In a medium sauce pan heat the olive oil, over medium heat. Add in the chopped jalapeno, carrots and celery and sauté until the vegetables are softened. It should take about 3-4 minutes for the vegetables to soften, when they do add the tomato paste and a pinch of sea salt. Stir in the tomato paste until everything turns a lovely rust color and it becomes fragrant. Add in the pinto beans, vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, hot sauce and 1 1/2 tsp. old bay seasoning. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once simmered and thickened add in the cooked rice and cook until heated through. Serve with extra hot sauce.
Note: Cook the long grain brown rice according to package instructions. Add in a pinch of sea salt and the bay leaf. Remove the bay leaf before serving.