Garden Picadillo

Picadillo is a different dish throughout Latin America and even into the Philippines. The Cuban version is what most people are familiar with, made with ground beef, raisins, and olives. Plenty of layers of flavor. This version is from the garden. It is totally vegan, but you can add ground meat or cheese if you like.

1 lb bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 lb mild green chiles, chopped, I used New Mexico peppers
1 yellow onion, diced
12 oz pigeon peas, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz black beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz salsa verde*
1 Cup sliced green olives
1 TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
3 TB olive oil
1/2 Cup raisins (optional)

Put everything except the salsa and olives in large skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. Add salsa and olives. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors marry. Serve over rice.

* I make my own salsa verde with chiles from my garden and tomatillos. Trader Joe’s and 365 both have good salsa verde off the shelf.

I don’t put the raisins in for two reasons: I don’t care for raisins and my dogs get people food. Dogs can’t eat raisins. Or grapes.

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Red Beans and Rice

This is a great way to feed tons of people. It’s a phenomenal dish to make ahead because it gets more delicious when it sits in the fridge. The beans can also be made in a crock pot– just transfer the sauteed veggies and simmer on low.

Red Beans over Rice

1 lb dry red beans, soaked, drained, and cooked in filtered water

1 Cup diced celery
1 Cup diced carrot
1 1/2 Cups diced yellow onion
4+ cloves garlic, minced
3 TB evoo
2 TB dried thyme
1 tsp salt

Saute chopped veggies, oil, and seasoning while beans finish cooking. Heating the dried herbs with fat helps develop the flavor. The salt will help the onions sweat and release their moisture, preventing sticking or burning. Let the veggies cook until the onions are translucent and soft.

Add 3/4 lb cajun sausage (andouille is great, I have local pork chorizo that I love!), chopped or crumbled. For a vegan or vegetarian version, use a meatless sausage the crumbles well.

Saute over medium heat to render fat. The veggies will develop a nice orangey glow. If making a non-meat version, add 2-3 TB additional evoo.

Drain cooked beans. Gently add them to veggies and sausage. (Or if you are making this in a crock pot, transfer everything to the crock pot now.)

Add
1 Cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 1/2 Cups tomato puree
2 TB cajun seasoning blend

Simmer covered on low for 20-30 minutes until flavors marry. Serve over rice.

**Quick tip: Use canned red beans. Find BPA free canned beans at: http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/food-and-cooking/product-guide-bpafree-canned-foods-107985

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