Day 143: Hurricane Rice ♥

Thanks to Katrina, I'm counting my blessings:
  • my family and friends are safe
  • my town is on high ground
  • I'm in a position to help those who've been left with little more than their lives
And thanks to Paper Chef#10 (an online version of the Food Network's Iron Chef competitions, open to anyone who takes on the challenge to create a dish from a handful of ingredients, this month featuring New Orleans-inspired beer, shrimp, sausage and tomato), I'm counting my culinary blessings:
  • I raaaarely cook without a recipe -- a blank slate was great fun!
  • I've never cooked N'awlins -- a tablespoon of research yielded a whole cup of self-confidence
  • I cooked under the influence of today's Fresh Air with music from New Orleans greats Dr John, Harry Connick Jr and Allen Toussaint
  • The result was seriously delicious
The vision began with brown rice cooked in beer (would it be awful, I wondered?), fat with shrimp and sausage, filled to the gills with okra, corn and tomato that'd make it qualify for a veggie-focused venture, served cold in scoops tucked into Napa cabbage 'spoons'. The result was close except:
  • Served hot vs cold and thus on a platter for easy serving
  • No okra, no corn -- in the spirit of the time and with gas shortages possible, I walked to the local market instead of driving to the supermarket: no okra, the corn was sad
  • It tasted BETTER than imagined -- a definite keeper

Hands-on time: 25 minutes (not including the rice)
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon bacon grease
1/2 a large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 a large green pepper, chopped
8 ounces sausage, cut in bite-size pieces (lacking andouille, I used something called a hunter-style sausage that was firm and spice-flecked, just as hoped)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (from 3/4 cup dry rice, cooked in beer, see ALANNA's TIPS)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Sprinkle cayenne
Plenty of pepper

8 ounces cooked shrimp, chopped
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered

Heat the bacon grease in a large skillet or Dutch oven on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the onion and pepper and sauté until slightly cooked. Add the sausage and let heat clear through and beginning to brown. Stir in the rice and heat through. Add the seasonings, taste and adjust. Stir in the shrimp and heat through. Stir in the tomatoes and let just warm. Serve immediately.

Per Serving: 398 Cal (49% from Fat, 26% from Protein, 25% from Carb); 26 g Protein; 21 g Tot Fat; 7 g Sat Fat; 25 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 57 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 1087 mg Sodium; 162 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 9 points

  • I use the Cook's Illustrated technique for baking brown rice. It takes about 5 minutes of hands-on time and the results are consistently moist, fully cooked and delicious. And because it's so easy, brown rice has become a staple in the house where before it was always too much trouble.
  • Was the beer worth it? There was a small taste difference that I kind of liked. But I think the more important ingredients are the sausage, the shrimp and the tomatoes: that's where I'd spend time and money and calories.

Me, Myself and I! Yes I'm quite proud of myself!
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Found you via Tomatilla Paper Chef. Definitely looks deliciously quick and easy for lunch as the name suggest!

  2. Good job! I would be scared to cook with those ingredients and no recipe!

  3. Alanna,

    I just have to love a recipe that begins with "1 tablespoon bacon grease." Also, I really liked the idea of cooking the rice in beer, what kind of beer did you use?

  4. Thanks, all! FYI bacon grease is a "secret ingredient" when a flavor punch is appropriate, so I keep a self-replenishing container in the frig. The beer was a Sam Adams something -- just what was in the frig that seemed better than Budweiser.

  5. This looks great. I definately wouldn't have thought to use beer to cook the rice, but it sounds great and is definately theme appropriate!

  6. I use that method for my brown rice as well. comes out great. I love CI.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna