Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Red Beans and Rice

I went to New Orleans for a bachelor party in March and when we weren't out on the town we actually got to enjoy some amazing Creole and Cajun food. My favourite was Red Beans and Rice. This was traditionally a "wash day" meal because you could throw everything in the pot and head down to the river or wherever people did laundry back in the day. Usually people use leftover ham from the previous meal but Jess hates ham so I ended up using bacon and it turned out great. I love the smokey flavour of the sausage combined with the creaminess of the bean sauce.  

  • 1 pound dried red beans
  • ½ pound chopped bacon
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 pound smoked sausage (see my Andouille recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions 
 Here is a picture of one of the post cards I got framed after we got back:


  1. Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches.
  2. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the bay leaves, parsley, sausage, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the beans and stock and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 3 hours.
  9. Remove from the heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/2 of the beans against the side of the pot.
  10. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 20 minutes.
  11.  Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.
  12. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cajun Style Andouille Sausage

This was my first foray into meat smoking and I think it was very successful. I will definitely change a few thing next time but was very happy with the final product, (next time I will use pork casings instead of the collagen ones I had on hand, I will use curing salts, and I will get my meat from a butcher instead of using the prepackaged pork that has a lesser fat content). The smokey flavor mixed with the spice of these sausages is mouth watering.
I fell in love with Andouille on a trip to New Orleans for a bachelor party... despite spending an inordinate amount of time on Bourbon Street we actually ate some amazing food from the area including dishes that feature Andouille as a key ingredient. My favourite dish was Red Beans and Rice with smoked sausage.
To make this sausage it ate up most of a day but was well worth the effort.


  • 5lbs ground pork butt
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 5 - 6 feet pork casings
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (2 if you want to amp it up a bit)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 - 3/4 of a light beer
  • 1 tsp curing salts (this is optional if you "hot smoke" your sausage, I didn't use it this time but will in the future because it cuts the risk of pesky things like botulism)
  • 3-4 cups Pecan wood chips


  1. Prepare your sausage casings for stuffing according to the suppliers instructions.
  2. Mix the meat and spices thoroughly and refrigerate for a couple hours to have them blend.
  3. Soak your wood chips in water or beer for 30 min then get your smoker ready to go (I smoked mine on a natural gas bbq).
  4. Smoke your sausage at 170 F to 250 F (my bbq was pretty constant at 200 F on the lid thermometer, I'm guessing it was probably closer to 225 F under the lid) until the internal temp of the sausages reads 165 F. My sausage took about 3-4hrs.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sweet Buttermilk Biscuits

I slightly modified my biscuit recipe to make more of a cakey biscuit that is perfect to pair with jams and preserves and scarf down with a cup of tea.

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (extra to top)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (extra to top)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor with the butter.
  4. Pulse the processor until the dough looks like wet sand.
  5. Add most of the milk and pulse a couple times until you have a wet dough.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter top.
  7. With your hands, press the dough out until it is around half an inch thick. 
  8. Fold it over on itself and repeat (I fold it 7 times but that's just cause I like the number 7).
  9. It will pretty much double in height in the oven so pat it down to half of the final height you want.
  10. Cut it into rounds using a cookie/dough cutter or a drinking glass (If you have nothing round I guess you could make square ones)
  11. Repeat the process with the scraps but try not to work the dough too much.
  12. Top with sugar and cinnamon.
  13. Bake the biscuits for around ten minutes (try to keep an eye on the bottoms because they cook pretty quick, I ended up broiling them for a minute to get the tops golden).
  14. Try not to burn your mouth as you start stuffing them in.