In the final weeks before we moved from the log house to our city space, we dipped into the pantry almost every night to use up ingredients before the move. Some of our from-the-pantry creations were winners, others not so much. This red beans and rice variation, one of the keepers, came together quickly after I soaked dry beans overnight and then cooked them in the pressure cooker (I'd already run out of canned beans, which would be a fine substitute). Typically, the rice would be prepared separately, but I cooked it right in with the beans. If you omit the shrimp and use water instead of chicken stock, you'll have a hearty vegetarian main dish. Try to use homemade stock if you are gluten-free, but again, you can swap in store-bought low-sodium chicken stock. Don't wait until next year's Mardi Gras to enjoy this New Orleans-style recipe; make dinner a celebration, at any time of year.
New Orleans-style red beans and rice, with shrimp
From the pantry, you'll need: dry red kidney beans, long grain white rice, canned tomato, Ro*Tel, chicken stock, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, frozen shrimp.
Serves 6-8 as a main dish.
1 lb cooked red kidney beans (or 6 cups canned beans, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 10-oz can Ro*Tel, mild or hot
2 cups chicken stock or water
1/4 cup smoky BBQ sauce
1-2 Tbsp Tabasco or other hot sauce, or more to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste
1 lb large (31-40 size) frozen shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
In a large stockpot, add all ingredients except the shrimp. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
Taste the rice; it should be just cooked. Now, add the shrimp, and stir it way down into the beans so the heat of the beans will cook the shrimp evenly.
Continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and curled.
Taste, and add more hot sauce if you like it spicy.
Serve hot, with some garlicky cooked dark leafy greens (chard, kale, collards) on the side. Or, cool completely, pack in an airtight container, and freeze.
More New Orleans-inspired recipes:
Gumbo ya-ya, from The Perfect Pantry
Chicken and shrimp jambalaya, from The Perfect Pantry
Roasted shrimp po' boy sandwich with Greek yogurt cole slaw, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker red beans and rice soup, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cajun fried chicken, from Leite's Culinaria
Dirty rice, from Simply Recipes
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