Isn’t it amazing how much food is related to memory? I grew up with my grandmother, Meme, making us her famous red beans and rice. Still, to this day, anytime I smell or taste it, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m taken back to their townhome in Dallas knowing I would soon sit down to a heaping bowl of the good stuff.
When I finally got my own place, it was the first dish I wanted to make. Traditionally, she would make it with beef sausage and white rice. And while I do LOVE her recipe, I wanted my version to be a little leaner, a little healthier. Only problem – turkey sausage doesn’t really hold the hearty flavor found in beef sausage. My solution? Sautéing it in coconut oil and a clove of garlic. Boy, did that change the flavor. Because coconut oil enhances flavors, it really made the difference in creating that much needed change in the turkey. It may just be my best dish.
From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe.
1 lb red beans
2 lbs turkey sausage
1 tbls coconut oil
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 whole white onion, chopped and separated
2 cups quinoa, cooked
Salt and Pepper to taste
Spice seasoning (I use the Slap Ya Daddy, just enough kick)
1. Fill large, deep pot about half way full of water. Pour entire bag of beans and soak overnight (VERY IMPORTANT).
2. The next morning, cut turkey sausage into bite sized pieces and sauté in coconut oil with garlic clove and half the onion. This should take about 10-15 minutes to heat all the way through.
3. Once sausage is heated, put pot of beans on high heat. Add in everything from the turkey skillet, plus remainder of onion. Add seasonings to taste. I suggest starting off slow with the seasonings. You can always add later, but you can’t really take away.
4. Bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat. Simmer for at least 6-8 hours. You can stir and taste as you cook to ensure you’ve reached the right flavoring for you.
5. Serve with cooked quinoa and enjoy!
This would be great served with Jen’s Sweet Potato Cornbread. The way this dish is made, it turns out to be more of a soup than the paste you’d find in New Orleans. I haven’t quite mastered that version. Don’t worry if you have leftovers, it tastes even better the next day.