Clyde Barrow: This here’s Miss Bonnie Parker. I’m Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.
I enjoy theme night dinners now and then and they don’t always have to be a fancy sit-down dinner in fact the more casual the better. Kind of makes for a fun dining experience if you name it instead of just any old red beans and rice night. For two nights we will enjoy theme dinners and call one “could have been Bonnie Parker’s last meal” instead of spam sandwiches if in fact that is what they shared before their demise. The etouffee “if she had lived another day on the run” dinner.
Everything for the two dinners can be made ahead for the most part so you can sit back and watch the show. To start things off a wonderful bowl of rice for both dinners that I chose to make ahead of time for both dinners using rice from my favorite mill and their recipe, Anson Mills. Then on to red beans and since shrimp etouffee shares many of the same ingredients, I made this sauce part while to pot of beans simmered on the back burner.
Carolina Gold Rice recipe courtesy of Anson Mills
The rice may be cooked and chilled a day in advance. To serve, proceed to step 2.
EQUIPMENT MISE EN PLACE
For this recipe, you will need a heavy-bottomed 3½-quart saucepan, a wooden spoon, a fine-holed footed colander, a rimmed baking sheet, and a spatula.
7 ounces (1 cup) Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice
Fine sea salt
6 cups spring or filtered water
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed 3½-quart saucepan. Add the rice, stir once, and return to a boil. As soon as the water boils, reduce the heat. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender with no hard starch at its center, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice in a fine-holed footed colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake the colander to drain off excess water.
Heat the oven to 300° degrees. Evenly distribute the rice in a rimmed baking sheet. Place it in the oven to dry for about 5 minutes, gently turning the rice from time to time with a spatula. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with the pepper and salt to taste. Continue turning the rice until the butter has melted and the rice is hot, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.
I have several recipes for red beans, but I really didn’t use one this time instead tossing the known ingredients together for what is considered a quick version when compared to an overnight soaking of the beans recipe.
Red beans and Rice
Serves 4 hungry gangsters
1 large smoked ham hock
1 long link smoked sausage
½ of a large onion, diced
½ of a large green pepper, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
3 fat cloves of garlic. Minced
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning,
3 fresh bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed or not as you can fish out the stems later
About 6 cups of water
Dashes of Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste if you like
*optional ½ cup ale
8 ounces presoaked red beans
Parsley and chopped green onions for garnish
Add washed red beans and place into a large bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 2 hours. Drain when ready to cook
To a pot add about a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat then add sausage link and ham hock and sauté for about 4-5 minutes, turning a couple of times then remove the sausage to a plate. Now add all of the vegetables and herbs and add a little more oil if you need it, sauté until translucent (not brown) *optional deglaze with about a 1/2 cup ale.
Add the beans and water, seasoning, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces. Bring to a boil and turn down to low or medium low, simmer uncovered for about 1 ½ hours or until they are tender. You can simmer longer for a creamier texture.
Grill sausage and slice…add to red beans
*Note: I save the flavorful cooking liquid if there is too much. Some of this liquid actually goes into my etouffee “sauce”.
If there is too much liquid scoop some of the beans into a serving bowl and mash. Using a slotted spoon, add the rest of the beans to the bowl, stir into mashed beans and as much pot liquid as you like for a saucy-ier serving over rice. Garnish red beans and rice servings with parsley and green onions. Serve with a Creole dressed green salad and a basket of hot crusty French bread.
Adapted from Howard Mitchams’s Etouffee II
(With Shrimp) serves 4
1 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp, brushed with EVOO and seasoned with a little Creole seasoning
1/2 stick butter + a tablespoon or so to sauté vegetables
3-4 tablespoons flour
½ large onion, diced
½ large green pepper, diced
3-4 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups hot shrimp stock
1 cup hot water ( I used the bean liquid that I had saved )
¼ cup sherry
¼ teaspoon cayenne or ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 ounce brandy
Salt and pepper
Make a dark nutty brown roux with the 4 tablespoons of butter and flour, set aside. Sauté the vegetables and parsley in butter until soft and then deglaze with the sherry, stir in the roux. Add tomato sauce, brandy, stock, lemon juice, lemon peel. This gets quite thick so keep some extra water near if you need to thicken the sauce. Simmer sauce, stirring often for about 15 minutes. Can be made ahead and reheated.
Grill the shrimp in a hot grill pan for about 3 minutes, deglaze with a little brandy or sherry and add all to the etouffee “sauce”. Ladle over hot rice and garnish with parsley and green onions.
Easy Etouffee: Brennan’s