Friday, September 20, 2013

Crockpot Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice was one of my favorite comfort foods growing up in Louisiana.  The red beans simmered for 3-4 hours with the ham (or smoked sausage), onions and spices.  The result was a flavorful and slightly smoky gravy with red beans that is served over white rice and doused with plenty of hot sauce. 

A couple of slices of crusty, warm garlic bread on the side and this dish will make you want to slap yo’ mama….or aunty or grandmammy!  I have also enjoyed this dish with warm flour tortillas when I don’t have garlic bread on hand. LOL

I adapted this recipe for the Crockpot from an original authentic Louisiana recipe from the cookbook: Best of the Best from Louisiana: Selected recipes from Louisiana’s favorite cookbooks.  This recipe is a keeper!  It reminds me of home and it will be a great tailgating/football dish for those brisk days this fall and winter!
2 pounds dried red beans
1 meaty ham bone, or 1 ½ pounds ham chunks (Sliced smoked sausage can also be used instead of ham)
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste
Hot cooked rice for serving
Chopped green onions for garnish (optional)
Thoroughly wash the dried beans in a collander, removing any stems or other foreign matter.  Place in a large Crockpot (mine holds 6 quarts). 
To the beans, add 3 quarts water, ham, onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and about 6-7 dashes of hot sauce.  Be careful not to add too much salt because the ham is already salty (if you are using ham). 
Simmer in the Crockpot on low for 10 hours, until beans are soft and the gravy is thick.

After mine cooked for 10 hours, I added about a cup of chicken broth and turned the Crockpot on high for about 30 minutes because a lot of the water had cooked away and it needed more of a gravy around it.
Served over cooked rice with Tabasco sauce or Louisiana Hot Sauce on the side.  Also, this dish tastes great with some chopped green onions sprinkled on top!  Cheers!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Perfect Prime Rib Roast

Perfect Medium Rare Prime Rib Roast
Who says you have to wait for the holidays to cook up a delicious meat fest ………featuring a perfect medium rare Prime Rib Roast!  A friend asked for my help in cooking a boneless prime rib roast for a get-together this weekend.  It was her first attempt at cooking this cut of meat and I was oh soooo happy to help!  Prime Rib is one of my favorite meats and the process of preparing it for the oven is one of joy and delight.  Follow this recipe for a perfectly moist and tender medium rare rib eye roast every time!  Just make sure you have a good meat thermometer!  Cheers!

6 lb boneless or bone-in prime rib roast.
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature

Spice Rub
1 tbsp dried rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh ground black pepper (about 1 1/2 teaspoon)
Course ground sea salt or Kosher salt (1 tsp)
It is very important that you allow the roast to come to room temperature to ensure even-cooking. This means leaving it out of the refrigerator for up to two full hours right before roasting.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Use a paper towel to pat the roast dry.  Drying off the roast will allow the outside to crisp nicely in the oven. 
Mix all the seasoning rub ingredients in a small bowl, crushing the dried rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper together with the 2 tbsp of softened butter.
Lovingly rub the seasoning rub mixture all over the roast, covering all exposed meat.  This is one of my favorite parts of the prep! 
Place the roast in a heavy metal roasting pan, bone-side down.  If you are using a bone-in roast, the bones will act as a natural rack in the pan.  If you are using a boneless rib roast, place a metal rack in the pan and then place the seasoned roast on top of the rack in the pan.
Start the roast in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees for the rest of the cooking time.  For the 6 lb roast that we used, we cooked it for about 2 hours, checking the temperature with a meat thermometer after the roast had cooked at 325 for about an hour and a half.  I think our roast had to cook a little longer than typical for its size because it was still pretty cold in the center when we put it in the oven. 
 Cooking times will vary depending on size of the roast and desired level of doneness. The following chart gives approximate times for to reach "rare" at various sizes.  The chart that follows and the meat temperature descriptions are taken from the website shown below:

Cooking Time for Rare (120°)

(3) Ribs, 7 to 8 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours at 325°
(4) Ribs, 9 to 10 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ½ to 2 hours at 325°
(5) Ribs, 11 to 13 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 2 to 2 ½ hours at 325°
(6) Ribs, 14 to 16 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 2 ¾ to 3 hours at 325°
(7) Ribs, 16 to 18 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 3 to 3 ¾ hours at 325°
Use your meat thermometer about a half hour before the expected end of the roasting time. Make sure to insert it in the thickest part of the meat, not touching the fat or bone. When the internal temperature reaches 120°, pull it out of the oven and cover with foil. Let the roast sit for twenty to thirty minutes. It will continue to cook during this time, reaching a temperature of about 125° to 130°. This resting period allows the juices and flavors to permeate the roast.
Rare meats measure in at 120° to 125° with a bright red center that grows slightly pinkish towards the exterior. Medium rare meats measure between 130° to 135° and are characterized by their extremely pink center portion that grows brown towards the exterior. Medium meats reach a temperature of about 140° to 145° have a light pink center, brown outer portions. Medium well is achieved at 150° to 155°. Well done is reached at about 160°

Carve your roast into slices with a good sharp knife and serve with horseradish and mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes.  It’s sooooo delicious and really not as intimidating to cook as it might seem.