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Friday, October 3, 2014

Sausage, Beans, and Rice

Entering Colorado from New Mexico on our way to an evening
concert in La Veta, CO


Well, once again, I disappeared for a month.  One of the reasons was a nice vacation in New Mexico and Colorado (just one day there).  I took the occasional (or hundred) photos but only a few involved food photos.

We had eclectic dining during our trip!

We ate our first meal in Albuquerque at a great little restaurant in the historical part of Albuquerque.  It was cool and dry and the food was delicious.  If you ever are in that area, stop in at the Church Street Cafe...try to sit on the back patio...it's awesome and peaceful and....I just sighed in delight!
Stacked enchiladas on the left with a fried egg on top
and a combo plate on the right with tamale, enchilada, and chili rellenos with green and red sauce.

Our second meal was at a tiny brewery in Taos...incredible grilled chicken tacos with homemade taco shells and hibiscus tea.  Live music and hummingbirds darting about.  It was heaven.  Dark and no photos.  It was relaxing time.

The majority of our meals were eaten around campfires, around outdoor grills, and a couple of times, breakfast in Red River was at a cool little spot down from our motel...Shotgun Willies.  Nothin' fancy but it will fill you right up!  Other than a lunch in Angel Fire, a lunch enroute to Colorado at some intersection somewhere, and another lunch in Trinidad - it was all outside dining!

We vacationed with friends and they had their camper.  They invited us to join them 3 out of our 5 nights there and, really, is there anything that doesn't taste good outdoors?  Especially with old friends and a stream running next to you...or a river running hundreds of feet below you!?!
Red River, NM - by the campground

Wayyyyy down in the bottom of the canyon - The Rio Grande.
(we get our drinking water from the Rio Grande at the south end of it all)

This brings me to the pot of beans, sausage, and rice I am cooking while sitting in air conditioned comfort - in respite from the steamy outdoor temps of the lower Texas Gulf Coast!  It may be October but it was 80 degrees when I woke up this morning and I heard we were supposed to have a cool front blow in tonight...so I decided to make a bean soup (well, not really a soup at the end of it all).  Even if the temperature drops a mere 10 degrees, everyone here grabs a sweater and puts on a pot of something hot.  You have to go for the gusto whenever you can.  It will be a cool 87 degrees tomorrow afternoon.  Really, that's a cool front down here!

Our friend, Pat, cooked two big pots of the most delicious 15 bean soup with ham and onion and other secret seasonings...all over a wood fire...on the rim of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.  That is one remote place!  Quiet, peaceful, and no cell phone service.  YES!
Pot of Beans on the canyon rim
Photo by John Hook

At dusk, the guitar came out, bottles of beer and tequila (and water for me to ensure I did not get altitude sickness) resulted in our singin' 'til our throats were sore.  Awesome memories.

Campfire at sunset - remote and beautiful

Me and Mr. Flip Flop - rarely photographed - our annual selfie!

Awesome friends Pat and Mike



So, in honor of that memory, dinner tonight has been soaking or cooking since 9:00 this morning.  Here's what I did....no wood fire nor cast iron pot included.


SAUSAGE, BEANS, AND RICE

Ingredients:

Hurst's HamBeens 15 Bean Soup (in the dried beans section of the store)
1 pound ring sausage, sliced (used smoked beef sausage)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small can Red Gold tomatoes and chilies - mild (or Rotel)
1 heaping teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 or 2 bags Steamable Brown Rice (each bag serves four - in the freezer section)

Meal in a Pot!

Method:

In a stock pot, soak beans per package instructions.  Discard soaking water and add 3 quarts water to bean pot.  Add sausage pieces.  Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook uncovered for 2 1/2 hours.  Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, chili powder, salt and pepper, and bring up to boil again and allow to low boil for about 30 to 45 additional minutes.  Microwave the rice 50% of the recommended time, and add to mixture.  Stir and allow to come up to boil again.  Lower heat and stir frequently as rice thickens up the soup to the consistency you like.  We like it thick so we used two bags of rice.

Serve with cornbread or tostado chips or warm tortillas.  Muy bueno!!!

15-bean mix, sausage, and rice make for a hearty bowl of goodness!

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