I have a friend in New Orleans whose life has hit a rough spot. I wish I could send her a box full of hugs, shrunken and encapsulated like the animal-shaped sponges you find in zoo gift shops, so that each time she closes her eyes with frustration, she’d just have to run a hug under hot water to feel a friend’s support.
But I’m still working on that technology. For now, soup that makes me think of New Orleans. It started as leftovers, and ended as a hug that I hope she can somehow feel.
Recipe for Andouille Sausage Stew with Red Beans and Rice
Recipe 65 of 365
Any true New Orleans cook would put green bell peppers into the mix also, but my refrigerator is in Seattle, and green peppers are expensive these days. This is a great way to use up the ingredients so often left floating around – half a box of chicken stock, some leftover rice, and a few sausages. As always, feel free to substitute whatever you have around, and if you have a green pepper, chop it up and throw it in with the carrots and celery.
TIME: 40 minutes (using cooked rice and sausage)
MAKES: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2” pennies
1 small head celery, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1/2” half-moons
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, such as Spanish pimenton de la vera
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 bay leaf (dried)
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked long-grain white or brown rice
2 Andouille (or other) sausages, cooked and cut into 1/2” slices
Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce (optional)
Heat a soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, then the onions, and cook until soft (6 to 7 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, season with salt and pepper and the paprika and allspice, and cook, stirring every minute or so, until the carrots and celery begin to soften, about another 6 minutes.
Add the bay leaf, chicken broth, and tomatoes, and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans, rice, and sausages, season again with salt and pepper, and simmer another 10 minutes. Season the stew to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce, and serve piping hot with a soft drawl and lots of love.