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This traditional hearty chowder may be made vegetarian, if you like, by leaving out the andouille sausage. Andouille is a spicy, smoked sausage traditional in Cajun cooking and normally used in jambalaya and gumbo. It is available both cooked and raw—you will need the cooked version for this recipe. This soup is a meal in itself, and many cooks in New Orleans swear it brings good luck when eaten. Try it out on your family and see if it brings you good tidings. The fresh thyme stirred in toward the end adds extra aromatic nuances to the soup.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound cooked andouille sausage, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large green pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (I teaspoon)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken stock or cold water
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup small dried red beans
1/2 cup basmati rice
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the andouille sausage, and saute for 1 minute.
Stir in the onion, celery, pepper, and garlic, and saute until the vegetables are tender.
Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the dried thyme, basil, oregano, paprika, and bay leaf; cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the stock, tomato juice, and red beans.
Bring the chowder to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender but have not lost their shape.
Stir in the rice, add fresh thyme sprigs, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
Season with the salt and pepper.
PER 1-CUP SERVING: Calories 130; Calories From Fat 50; Calories From Saturated Fat 15; Protein 5 G; Carbohydrate 13 G; Total Fat 6 G; Saturated Fat 2 G; Cholesterol 15 Mg; Sodium 220 Mg; 38% Calories From Fat
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