Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cajun Green Beans


Printable version
Green beans are nearing the end of their seasonal cycle in the Midwest. Since I can remember, most of the people in my family with gardens have a large portion dedicated to the little green pods – which means an almost never-ending supply for the entire family. I used to think the Jolly Green Giant was like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus, only he would sneak into our basement while we slept on Labor Day to stock the pantry with jars of canned green beans.

With an abundance around, I like to cook them fresh before they go bad or get canned. My favorite way to cook green beans is to blanch then, which means to boil until cooked through, then plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. They can then be reheated with other ingredients in the final dish.

For this recipe, after blanching the beans they are added to a mix containing Cajun seasoning and a New Orleans staple – Andouille sausage. It is served over rice for what I call Cajun Style Green Beans.


BEHIND THE BITES
I have mentioned Big John Maxwell, the Ragin’ Cajun, in several posts over the last few months and recreated some of the dishes I have cooked with him while catering weddings at the Shiloh. This dish is my first “Cajun” recipe I have attempted using John’s knowledge of cooking. It is my own creation, just inspired by some of the tid-bits I have picked up working with the Ragin' Cajun.

I basically create a stir fry with Cajun seasoning and andouille sausage. I use McCormick’s Gourmet Collection Cajun Seasoning in this dish and it does what good Cajun seasoning is supposed to do. John taught me that using a variety of different peppers like cayenne, black pepper and chilli pepper helps distribute the heat to different parts of the mouth. Individual peppers affect different areas. A great way to test this theory is to sample a jalapeno first and a habeñero second. I wouldn’t recommend eating them raw, but in sauces based with the peppers. You’ll find that the jalepeño hits right away in the front of the mouth while the habeñero take a few seconds and hits toward the back of mouth and throat. The habeñero will pack considerable more heat so beware. Good Cajun seasoning utilizes this concept and the McCormick seasoning does that well.

The Johnsonville Andouille sausage I picked up at Meijer was disappointing.  The overall recipe is really good - I will make it again for sure. I will use different andouille though, what I bought at Meijer was picked out of a meat case with hundreds of different sausages and it shows. It tasted more like a spicy smoky link, which is not bad, but I have had good andouille and I was expecting that. I’m disappointed but learned a great lesson when purchasing andouille in Fort Wayne: Go to a specialty meats retailer! Every so often it’s totally worth spending a little extra for great flavor.

This dish isn’t quite the soft shelled crab from the menu of John’s food truck, but it’s a nice start in experimenting with the flavors of New Orleans and the Bayou.

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Serves 4; 40 minutes  
1 lb Green beans, fresh, cleaned
1 Tbs Garlic, minced
1 C Red onion, diced
1 C Red pepper, diced
1 Tbs Cajun seasoning
1 lb Andouille Sausage, fully cooked, diced
2 C Rice
4 C Chicken, broth

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add green beans and salt to taste. Cook beans 7 to 8 minutes or until cooked through, remove and place in a large bowl of ice water for at least 5 minutes, then drain.

In a saute pan over medium heat with a little olive oil sauté onion, garlic, peppers and Cajun seasoning until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in beans and andouille. Cook until mixture is heated through, 6 to 8 minutes more. Divide mixture among plates and serve over rice.

THE RICE
In a pot, over medium high heat toss rice in a little olive oil until well coated and slightly toasted. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. After 20 minutes, remove cover and fluff rice with a fork.

3 comments:

Anna L. said...

Minus the sausage ingredients, this could be a vegan dish. My seasoning for it will be soysauce.

Anonymous said...

Love the recipe!

Carole said...

Fantastic as always, Justin. Thanks for linking up. Cheers