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Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Trying out a new look for 2015…hope you like it!

We were in Cuba in February and came to enjoy the red beans and rice. Looking for a similar dish, I found a recipe for Cajun Red Beans and Rice on my friend Kevin’s site www.closetcooking.com

I used a smoked pancetta as Andouille is not common down here. The flavour was great. This recipe makes enough for four hungry people!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice (adapted from http://www.closetcooking.com)
Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1/2 pound Andouille sausage or smoked Pancetta (cut into small pieces)
• 1 cup onion (diced)
• 1/2 cup celery (diced)
• 1/2 cup green pepper (diced)
• 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
• 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
• 2 (19 ounce) cans red beans (rinsed and drained)
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 cups cooked rice (I like to go with Basmati)
Directions
1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat add the sausage and sauté until lightly golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, and set aside.
2. Add the onions, celery and green pepper to the pan and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the stock, beans, sausage/pancetta, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for at least 1 hour
6. Remove the bay leaves.
7. Mash or puree about a quarter of the beans if desired.

If you feel there is too much liquid, just let it simmer down.
Just before serving add the cooked rice.

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Scalloped Potatoes with Pork Chops

The only recipe I ever knew placed the pork chops on top and they always were too well cooked! This method probably originated when there were all the concerns about pork not being well cooked. Fortunately, I came across three different recipes that changed this arrangement. These turned out very well and the liquid went all the way through to keep the chops moist.

2 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 Tablespoons flour

14 oz. chicken broth

6 pork chops not too thin

6 cups thinly sliced potatoes (choose skins on or off)

1/2 cup sliced onions or more

dash paprika

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons thyme

1/2 cup sour cream

PREPARATION

Set the oven to 350 degrees

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter, adding salt and pepper, flour, Dijon mustard and thyme. Pour in the broth, cook and stir until it boils. Remove from heat and add the sour cream.

Brown chops in 1 Tablespoon of butter.

Grease cooking dish with butter.

Layer the chops in the bottom of the dish. Layer the potatoes and onions over the chops evenly.

Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

Uncover and continue to bake 1/2 hour more until starting to golden.

 

Homemade Shake and Bake

Ah yes, another pork chop recipe! You can’t blame me because pork is one of the best things in Mexico. I don’t buy the chops, I buy the loin and slice it to my desired thickness and then freeze what I am not going to use. Since I did not want to use the Smothered Pork Chop recipe, I decided I wanted to bake them for a change. Having no Shake and Bake, although it is available here, I searched the ‘Net for a homemade version, et voila! This recipe was very good and the Shake and Bake can be kept in a sealed jar for 1 to 2 months…good also with chicken…

Homemade Shake and Bake

3 cups bread crumbs – I used the Japanese Panko

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. dried onion flakes

3 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne I omitted this

1/2 tsp. dry parsley

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dry oregano

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly mixed and the crumbs are no longer clumpy from the oil.

Dump into a Mason jar or plastic container in the pantry for 1 to 2 months.

For Pork Chops – Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dump some of the Shake and Bake in a large Ziploc bag. Rinse the chops in cold water. Let excess water run off. Place pork chops one at a time in the bag and shake until coated. Remove the chop from the bag, shaking off excess breading. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Do the other chops. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remember, pink is good in pork these days!

For Bone-in Chicken – As above, bake for 45 minutes.

Boneless Chicken – bake 20 minutes.

Recipe from The Black Peppercorn  www.theblackpeppercorn.com