Inauguration day is the perfect time to serve some of the 44th Presidentís favorite dishes. Since Iím not invited to the actual celebrations in Washington, where the White House chefs have no doubt been busily preparing fancy sounding fru-fru dishes, Iíll need to make my own Inauguration food. Iím planning to make some of the new presidentís favorites, and Iíve streamlined the recipes because, as usual, Iím short on time.
According to an interview done with Barack Obama while he was campaigning, the Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop restaurant, which is close to his Chicago neighborhood, is a favorite, and he orders the Sampler platter, which includes Red Beans & Rice, a classic Cajun dish. My shortcut version is made in the slow cooker, and doesnít require much hands-on time. I usually start the beans the night before; in the morning I add the remaining ingredients and let it cook while Iím at work. Pick up a loaf of freshly baked crusty bread on the way home, as well as some packaged salad and youíll have a complete meal.
Since itís a special occasion, youíll also want to serve dessert. A favorite dessert of Barack Obama is the Peach Cobbler from the same restaurant; Iíve posted a recipe that is similar to theirs on the Desserts site at BellaOnline: Inauguration Day Peach Cobbler. Itís not as quick as the Speedy Peach Cobbler on this site, but if you can find a little extra time to cook, itís well worth it.
If youíre not planning to celebrate the Inauguration, these dishes are also appropriate for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, or any day youíre serving southern food.
Slow Cooker Cajun Red Beans and Rice
1 cup dried red beans
4 cups water, (or more if needed)
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning Ė your favorite - preferably a non-salted version
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco pepper sauce
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup dehydrated onion flakes or 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 finely chopped medium green bell pepper
1 teaspoon dehydrated garlic, or 2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 pound andouille sausage or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced diagonally into 3/4" thick slices and browned
2 cups diced ham
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked white rice
1 chopped green onion
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Sort through the beans and discard any broken or ugly ones and any rocks or dirt.
- Rinse well and place in the slow cooker with the water.
- Turn to high and cook 4-6 hours. These can be cooked overnight, just add an extra cup of water so they donít cook dry and burn while youíre sleeping.
- When the beans are tender, mash them a little with a fork Ė this will help thicken the mixture.
- Add the Cajun seasoning, Tabasco, celery, onions, green pepper, and garlic.
- Stir in the ham and sausage.
- Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours. If the beans get too thick, add more water.
- To serve, place a mound of rice in a bowl, top with the bean mixture, and sprinkle with the green onions and parsley.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 420 Calories from Fat 116
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 28% Protein 21% Carb. 51%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 41 mg
Sodium 815 mg
Total Carbohydrate 54 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 22 g
Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 39% Calcium 0% Iron 24%