Spicy Southern Rice with Beans and Sausage

IMAG1949This is easy and delicious comfort food that you can make as mild or spicy as you like. I got this recipe years ago from a food company brochure — the kind where they call for their own brand ingredients even though you can use any brand.

I didn’t know what to call this recipe. The brochure called it “Spicy Cuban Stir-Fry,” but I don’t know enough about Cuban food to know whether it qualifies, and I didn’t want to offend anyone. Rice with beans is pretty Southern anyway, so there you go.

This would be a good way to use up leftover rice. And it’s ready in only 30 minutes.

2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1 lb. sausage meat (I used mild Italian sausage, but use a spicier kind if you want more heat. I also used packaged ground sausage meat. If you can only find regular sausages, remove the casings and crumble the meat with your fingers.)
1 1.25 oz. packet taco seasoning mix*
The juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for sauteeing
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (omit if you want a milder dish)
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 11-oz. can corn kernels, drained
2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, torn in rough pieces

In a medium saucepan, combine water and salt. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice and cover. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is cooked. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the sausage meat, taco seasoning mix, lime juice, 1 Tbsp. oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

In a large wok or 12-inch skillet, add a tablespoon or two of oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add sausage mixture and cook about 5 minutes or until sausage is cooked through.

Stir in cooked rice, beans, and corn and cook for about 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt.

*For those overseas who may not find taco seasoning packets in the store, here’s a recipe I found so you can make your own.