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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to dinner: Hearty dish fills cowboys

Thursday, October 05, 2000

Tested by Nancy Anderson

Today's Countdown recipe for Cowboy Red Beans and Rice is a dish that real cowboys ate in the Pacific Northwest 50 years ago.

Bob Sule of Cranberry wasn't exactly a cowboy, just a teen-ager helping with the branding at the Rafter-O cattle ranch, on Asotin Creek near the Idaho border.

"It was fun, and the ranch food was great."

The rancher's wife prepared a noon dinner that was "a feast," according to Bob -- huge roasts of beef, fresh crisp salads, garden vegetables, rice and beans, pitchers of ice-cold lemonade and warm homemade apple pie.

Bob got the recipe for the rice and beans concoction and has been making it ever since.

As a shortcut, he substituted Tabasco for hot peppers but says if you don't like the taste of Tabasco, dice up two or three hot banana peppers and cook with the onion.

Bob is a senior vice president for C.B. Richard Ellis, a commercial real estate broker.

Cowboy Red Beans and Rice

2 cups uncooked rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 40-ounce can red beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon Tabasco Sauce (optional)

Prepare rice according to directions on box.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over high heat until oil smokes. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly, until color begins to change (about 3 or 4 minutes). Add garlic, move to a cool burner and stir. Add beans and tomatoes with juice. Return to medium heat, stir and season with optional Tabasco. Let simmer until ready to serve.

To serve, ladle a serving of cooked rice into individual soup bowls and top with tomato and bean mixture. Grated Jack or Tillamook cheese on top is a nice finish, or use a dollop of sour cream. (We used grated Cheddar.)

Serve with a green salad (we also added garlic Parmesan toast) and a bottle of Gewurztraminer or a few Irons. Serves 8.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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