A helping of this sumptuous New Orleans dish can get you in the Mardi Gras mood. Even better, this rendition is much lower in fat than the classic recipe. Fat Tuesday can be lowfat Tuesday, too.
Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15-ounces each) cans red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup water (or vegetable broth)
6 ounces diced ham
1/2 cup finely chopped celery plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery leaves
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper*
1. Combine vegetable broth, rice and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.
2. About 10 minutes before the rice is ready, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes.
3. Place 1 cup beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the mashed and whole beans, water, ham, celery, celery leaves, bell pepper and ground chipotle to the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened into a gravy and the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. To serve, mound rice in serving bowls and blanket with bean mixture.
*Ground chipotle gives this dish a smoky appeal. If unavailable, add one or two minced chipotles in adobo sauce (found in cans in the ethnic section of most supermarkets). Cayenne pepper can be substituted and will lend heat but will lack the smokiness of chipotle.