Monday, March 3, 2014

Red Beans & Rice-Sausage Soup for Mardi Gras...Featuring Zatarains Red Beans and Rice Mix

I hope that you've got some fabulous Mardi Gras plans tomorrow, including a tasty New Orleans-inspired meal! All you need to add to this hearty Read Beans & Rice-Sausage Soup is some Louisiana zydeco music and hot buttered cornbread. If you're like me and your weeknights are hectic, this easy-to-make soup is a perfect celebration dinner. This soup is built around a package of Zatarains delicious red beans and rice mix, and it's ready in under and hour. With the addition of two kinds of sausage, it cooks up thick and rich, with a smoky-spicy flavor that will knock your socks off! Zatarains recently sent me a Mardi Gras party kit with beads and masks and several boxes of their packaged mixes. I love quick meals during the work week, so I was thrilled to find a recipe for Andouille Red Bean Soup on the Zatarains website. 

I tweaked the recipe slightly and whipped up a pot of the soup last week. I used a combination of smoked sausage and some browned bulk pork sausage, subbed low-sodium chicken stock for water, and added a can of petite diced tomatoes instead of corn since that's what I had on hand. This recipe made enough for four large bowls of soup, with a container leftover to freeze for us to enjoy for dinner one evening this week. That makes this recipe a sure-fire winner.

Red Beans & Rice-Sausage Soup
adapted from Zatarains
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 6 ounces diced smoked sausage
  • 4 ounces bulk pork sausage
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced bell pepper
  • ½ cup sliced celery
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (I like Crystal and Tabasco best)
  • 1 package Zatarains Red Beans and Rice
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Step 1: Heat a Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the olive oil and the two sausages. Cook until the sausages are browned. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook until the veggies are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the garlic and oregano to the pot. Give it a stir to combine and cook until fragrant. Add the petite diced tomatoes – juice and all – and hot sauce. Give a good stir to combine. Finally, add the red beans and rice mix and stock. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil.
Step 3: Cover, reduce heat to med-low, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes. By then, the rice will be cooked and the beans have softened. Just before serving, add the green onions and stir to combine. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with more green onion and hot sauce, if desired.
Everyone who tried this soup raved about it! It was thick and hearty, with a fantastic smoky flavor from the Zatarains mix and the sausage. The consistency was perfect, and we thought the amount of spice was spot on. If you prefer your food mild, feel free to leave out the hot sauce. If you like it on the spicier end (like Michael does), simply add hot sauce to taste. If you like, feel free to round out the meal with crusty French bread or hot cornbread…both would work nicely.
Disclosure: Zatarains sent me a Mardi Gras Box containing a sampler of their products, as well as festive Mardi Gras d├ęcor. I received no other compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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