Sunday, February 27, 2011

Laissez le Bontemps Roulez!

Mardi Gras is just a week away. Time to party hearty! A time of excess and revelry before having to behave for the next forty days!
A google search turns up a surprising number of vegan options in the Big Easy. Whoodathunk? But going vegan is super easy with this meatless dish. Adapted from Cajun Cooking by Marjie Lambert, it is one of my favorite cajun dishes, inexpensive to make, filling, nutritious and easy! The only substitution necessary to make it vegan is to use vegan sour cream instead of the real stuff. No sacrifice at all and oh so good. Leftovers if there are any, are even better the next day!

Meatless Red Beans and Rice
1 1lb dry red kidney beans
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion , chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dry mustard
1 bay leaf
6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
few drops of Tabasco sauce
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
6 green onions, chopped
cooked rice to serve
vegan sour cream

Soak the beans in at least five quarts of water a minimum of four hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and return to the pot with 6 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, skimming the foam, while you prepare the vegetables.
While the beans are simmering, heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and green pepper until wilted. Add the spices and saute a minute or so more until they give off their aromas. Add the vegetables to the beans along with the tomato paste and wine and continue simmering, stirring occasionally.
After about 30 minutes, taste the broth, add Tabasco to taste, and adjust the other seasonings. Cook until tender, about 1 1//2 hours.
Just before serving, stir the shopped celery, green pepper and green onions into the bean mixture. Serve over cooked rice with a dollop of the vegan sour cream.
The cornbread in the photo was made with Egg Replacer. I may be doing something wrong but have not had good luck with it. You might have better results.
Have fun at Mardi Gras! C'est Levee.

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