When winter arrives, I think of stews, soups and beans. Meals that warm the heart as well as the stomach. These are well-rounded meals when made with a varied mix of meats and vegetables, all of which are melded into one pot.
Today, think beans. Here’s one of my favorites and it’s a complete meal in a pot. The only meat you need pull from your freezer is a couple of links of sausage. And the bonus: you will make several meals all at once.
- 2 links sausage (brats or Italian)
- a medium onion (I like yellow)
- a bell pepper
- a stalk of celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- a big carrot or 3 skinny ones
- fresh parsley
- a small box of fresh mushrooms
- chicken stock (more than a can but less than the 32 oz. size)
- ½ pound fresh frozen Navy beans (or blackeyes, crowders, purple hull. HEB has very fresh frozen ones this time of year in the fresh produce section. Central Market has them unfrozen from time to time)
- 2 cup of rice (makes 4 cups cooked rice) Wild and brown mix, or “Cajun Grain” is best.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- A dash of Louisiana hot sauce
- Chop onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Begin saute’ in butter and olive oil until slightly softened.
- Slice carrots in fairly thick coins. Hold aside.
- Slice the mushrooms. Saute’ them in butter.
- Slice the sausage and add to the vegetable mirepoix you are sauteeing. When the sausage is half-cooked and the vegetables are softened, add the peas and cover with stock about a ½ inch above the peas. Add the carrots immediately and bring to a simmer. Saute’ the sliced mushrooms in butter until slightly browned. Simmer for 45 minutes or so. Add the mushrooms and butter.
- Start the rice.
- Simmer another 15 minutes or until the carrots and beans are softened. Turn off fire, add a dash or more of hot sauce stirred in, cover and allow to sit about 15 minutes while it all melds. Serve over rice garnished with chopped fresh parsley. See the photo on Facebook.
Store remainder in fridge because it’s even better the second and third time around. Can it get any better than this? One meat, butter, chicken stock and 8 vegetables in one pot, packed with protein, carbs, a little fat and lots of vitamins and minerals. We are eating grandly on a budget, folks. Live the dream of good food!