red beans & rice

Red Beans and Rice Hero

Nothing says NOLA like red beans and rice. I know it’s sacrilege, but believe it or not these red beans and rice have no bacon, sausage or any hints of meat. They’re slow cooking, flavor-packed, and will make your kitchen smell like a French Quarter cafe. The real secret to these is time (you’ll also need a little thyme).

You’ll need:

Ingredients_Red Beans & Rice

 

Kosher salt
1 pound small red beans, rinsed and picked over
3 tbl butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 small bell pepper (I used orange), seeded and chopped fine
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
3 cups veggie broth
6 cups water
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
Basic White Rice

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Your beans: Start by soaking & brining them — combine 3 tablespoons of salt with 4 quarts of water. If you’re a planner, you can soak your beans for 8-12 hours over night the night before. I am not that on top of things, so I erred on the side of the quick soak. To prep your beans with the quick method, rinse your beans then combine them with salt & water in a large, covered dutch oven. Bring the water to a boil and then remove from the heat and let them rest for 1 hour. Drain your beans and then start making them tasty!

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Melt your butter in a large dutch oven & add your onion, celery, and peppers. Cook until your vegetables are soft (~4-5 minutes) and then add your garlic.

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Add your spices (thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne, and pepper) & let the flavors start to meld for a few minutes.

Add your beans, broth & water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once your mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour. Stir in your vinegar and continue cooking for at least 30 more minutes. Honestly, I kept the beans on low heat for at least two additional hours. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

xoxo,

HungryTexans



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king cake

king cake hero

Sharing King Cakes during Mardi Gras season is a cherished Gulf Coast tradition, but it wasn’t until college that I realized King Cake folklore isn’t universal. Jaws dropped when I explained there’s a prized baby Jesus baked inside! There are competing interpretations of what it means to eat the slice with the baby. In some circles, he or she who finds the baby is declared King or Queen for the day while in others finding the baby means bringing the King Cake next Mardi Gras. Any way you slice it, King Cakes are fun for all. Even if you don’t buy the King Cake superstitions, who can object to a giant, glorified cinnamon roll? Not us!

A homemade King Cake isn’t the easiest feat, but you should try it once! Especially if you’re nowhere near the third coast.

You’ll need:

Dough Ingredients

Dough
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup buttermilk

Custard Ingredients
Cinnamon Filling
1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
5 yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
purple, green and gold colored sugars for garnish
traditional King Cake baby, penny, or trinket

Start by making the dough. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer & mix for 15 whole minutes. I know this seems like a crazy long time, but alas! it works and your dough will be a silky ball after 15 whole minutes. Transplant your ball into a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave to proof for ~2 hours. Note: your dough would be much happier proofing in an environment resembling the Gulf Coast (~80 – 90 degrees) than a drafty DC kitchen, but we made do!

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While your dough is proofing, make your filling. To make your cinnamon filling, start by combining your milk & sugar in a small saucepan. Stir rigorously to dissolve all the sugar. Once the milk & sugar mixture starts to boil, lower the heat slightly. Combine your cornstarch, vanilla, and egg yolks in a measuring cup & then add some of your warm milky mixture to the egg mixture (temper your eggs). Then, add your tempered eggs to the hot milk mixture, slightly elevate your heat, and continuously whisk your mixture until it begins to boil & the mixture resembles a thick custard. Remove custard from heat, cover & place in the fridge to chill. Once chilled, stir in cinnamon. 

Custard Steps

To make your cinnamon sugar mixture, combine all ingredients!

Once your dough is proofed, you get to play with it!

Dough A

 

  1. flour your work surface
  2. flatten your ball of dough
  3. cut into two equal parts
  4. roll out each part into a rectangle
  5. spread your cinnamon filling liberally on each rectangle
  6. sprinkle your cinnamon sugar generously on each filling covered rectangle
  7. cut each rectangle in half (hot dog-style)Dough B
  8. roll each rectangle pinching the seems to form a cinnamon-filled snake
  9. braid your cinnamon-filled snakes so that you have two braids
  10. place braids on a parchment lined baking sheet & pinch ends of each braid with the other braid’s end until you have a circle

Now leave this to rise. Should rise for 90 minutes to 2 hours, although mine didn’t get greatly larger in size (it should double!).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown!

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To make your icing: cream cream cheese until soft, add powdered sugar, milk, vanilla & pinch of salt. Add powdered sugar until your icing reaches desired consistency. I went with a thin icing to drizzle over my cake through the tip of a Ziploc turned piping bag.

Once your cake cools, drizzle with icing and decorate with yellow, green, and purple colored sugars (you can make these yourself with a few tablespoons of sugar and a few drops of food coloring!). If your trinket’s plastic and could easily melt, we recommend slipping it into a seam after your cake has cooled. If you’re using something heartier like a penny, you could pop it in before your cake goes in the oven. To each her own!

laissez les bon temps rouler,

HungryTexans