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Recipe: Starky’s Cajun Red Beans & Rice Soup

Its the official end of Mardi Gras celebrations and we’ve got a big pot of simmering Cajun Red Beans & Rice on the stove for our special today.  This recipe is somewhere between a thick soup and a stew and is packed with extraordinary flavors of N’awlins’ Cajun cooking.  Spicy Andouille sausage, meaty chicken thighs, and abundant amounts of cajun seasoning mingles with “Trinity” (onions, peppers, celery), lots of garlic, and a touch of tomato & beer.  We’ve chosen to cook our small red beans from scratch which means starting the day before for a leisurely soak overnight in water.  The just-right chew of a fresh bean with all that flavorful broth is the ticket. At Starky’s we use rice flour to give a little body to our thicker soups to keep them gluten free and less likely to “break”.   Serve this pot of magic with a garnish of long grain white rice and chopped scallions or parsley.  We may be stuck in freezing cold Montana, but our taste buds are getting a big dose of hot sauce & Cajun heart.  From our test kitchen to your home kitchen; enjoy the process of cooking great food from scratch!

Starky Cajun Red Beans & Rice Soup

Serves 6

2 cups small dried red beans or

1 15oz can small red beans drained and rinsed

 

2 chicken boneless thighs cut into chunks

4 links Andouille Sausage sliced

4 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and dices

4 celery ribs, diced

1 tablespoon garlic puree (about 3 cloves)

2 Tablespoons Cajun Creole seasoning

¼ cup flour or rice flour

1 cup light tasting beer

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

32 oz chicken stock

1 bay leaf

4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tablespoon (or more!) hot sauce

Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

 

Long Grain White Rice and Scallions for Garnish

 

To cook the beans:  soak the beans in water to cover overnight in the refrigerator.  Drain the water the next day and add the beans to a new pot of water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for about an hour until beans are tender.  We add a bay leaf and a little garlic to flavor the beans while they cook.  Do not add salt, it can hamper the softening process.

 

In a stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring until almost cooked through.  Add the andouille sausage and cook until it just begins to brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove the chicken and sausage to a bowl.  Add the onion, peppers, and celery and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, seasoning and flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.  Add the beer and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomato sauce and cook for a minute.  Add the red beans, stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire and hot sauce and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables are soft and mixture is just starting to thicken a bit.  Add the chicken and sausage back to the pan and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasonings to make it hotter or saltier.  Serve immediately or let the soup cool slightly and stow in the frig for the next day (it always has a better flavor the next day and will thicken up considerably) Serve the Cajun soup in bowls with a small scoop of long grain rice and fresh chopped scallion on top; don’t skimp on a hot sauce bottle nearby!

 

Hope you enjoyed a little of N’awlin’s Darlin’s!

Kat