RECIPE

Red Beans and Rice with Merguez and Eggplant

Lamb sausage (merguez) and eggplant introduce interesting tastes to seasoned rice and beans.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika (about 1/2 palmful)
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 1/4 cups long grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound spicy fresh lamb sausage, such as merguez, removed from its casing
  • 1 small, firm eggplant (1/4 pound), partly peeled to form lengthwise stripes and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can red kidney beans (15 ounces), drained
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnishing

Preparation

In a medium size saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until foaming; stir in the paprika and saffron. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock and tomato; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low; cover and simmer for 18 minutes.

Meanwhile,in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Crumble in the sausage (I use a potato masher for this job) and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the eggplant, bell pepper, onion, garlic and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits. Stir in the beans to heat through, then stir in the rice. Top with the parsley.

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