Steal This Recipe® West Indian Red Beans with Coconut Rice & Savannah Sweet Potato Bisque | Moosewood Restaurant

September 21, 2011

West Indian Red Beans with Coconut Rice & Savannah Sweet Potato Bisque

Stolen with permission from Chef Sara Robbins of Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, here's a recipe that is well worth a spot on your dinner table for any special occasion.

The Moosewood Restaurant is run by a collective of 19 diversely creative people who believe in healthy and natural eating. You’ll love their recipe for West Indian Red Beans with Coconut Rice & Savannah Sweet Potato Bisque! And, if you happen to have any vegetarians at the table ... they’ll be pleased!

About the chef: When Moosewood Restaurant's doors first opened for business in 1973, Sara Robbins' bread was on the menu. During the first few years, she baked bread and deserts for Moosewood while working as a chef in other local restaurants. In 1979, Robbins joined the Moosewood Collective, has been a major force in the kitchen ever since and is a co-author of the cookbooks by the Moosewood Collective.

Chef Robbins is an efficient and masterful cook and is also instrumental in planning the restaurant's kitchen design and organization and is one of the Collective's menu planners and kitchen supervisors. She developed their cook training program and has been responsible for hiring to fill openings for all positions in the restaurant. In addition, as a collective member, Robbins has taken responsibility on some level for almost every aspect of our restaurant operation, from ordering supplies and produce to designing and creating artwork for their table menus.

Robbins lives in the country with her husband, two children, and a passel of animals, mostly domesticated. She is a voracious reader of fiction (and a wonderful informal storyteller, herself) and also enjoys writing, painting, gardening.

Moosewood Restaurant
215 N. Cayuga Street, Dewitt Building 
Ithaca, NY 14850 
607 273 9610 

West Indian Red Beans is served at Moosewood Restaurant for $7.50 at lunch with a small salad and $12.00 at dinner with a side dish and salad. This recipe is for a restaurant serving size of two.

Chef's note: In the Caribbean, red beans and rice are cooked together, but Moosewood likes to ladle saucy red beans over a bed of fragrant coconut rice and garnished with a little greenery.

The Savannah Sweet Potato Bisque is served at Moosewood Restaurant for $4.99. This recipe is for a restaurant serving size of two.

Chef's note: Moosewood Restaurant has served this soup in one version or another since the 1980’s. Moosewood called it "Pimiento Cheese Bisque" back then. In the restaurant kitchen, the bisque is sometimes made with pimientos and sometimes roasted red peppers. White potatoes can substitute but a deeply colored sweet potato makes it look beautiful.

Coconut Rice Ingredients:
3/4 cup white rice 
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp vegetable oil 
1/4 tsp salt 
3/4 cup water 
1/3 cup coconut milk

*West Indian Red Beans Ingredients: 
3/4 cup diced onions 
2 tsp vegetable oil 
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or 1/2 small fresh chile, minced salt 
1/4 tsp dried thyme 
1/4 tsp allspice 
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes 
1 15 oz can of red kidney beans, drained 
chopped scallions and/or cilantro

**Savannah Sweet Potato Bisque Ingredients: 
1 celery stalk, chopped 
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1 cup diced sweet potato 
1 cup diced white potato 
2 cups vegetable stock or water 
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar 
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, cubed 
1/2 of a 4 oz jar pimientos, chopped 
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Coconut Rice Steal This Recipe® Step-by-Step Instructions: 
Rinse and drain the rice. 
In a saucepan on medium heat, sauté the rice, turmeric, and salt in the vegetable oil for a minute or two, stirring constantly. 
Add the water and coconut milk, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. 
Simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

*West Indian Red Beans Steal This Recipe® Step-by-Step Instructions: 
While the rice is cooking, in a saucepan on medium heat, sauté the onions in the vegetable oil for 3 or 4 minutes. 
Add the red pepper flakes, sprinkle lightly with salt, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, for 5 to 8 minutes. 
Add the thyme, allspice, tomatoes, and beans, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Serve the red beans on a bed of the rice and top with scallions and/or cilantro.

**Savannah Sweet Potato Bisque Steal This Recipe® Step-by-Step Instructions: 
In a saucepan, cook the celery and onions in the oil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
When the onions are translucent, add the sweet and white potatoes, stock or water, cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. 
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the cheeses, allow to soften a few minutes. 
Puree the soup in an immersion blender, blender or food processor with half of the pimientos. 
Add the rest of the pimientos and salt and pepper to taste, if the soup is too thick add milk, water or stock. 
Reheat gently but do not boil.

West Indian Red Beans. Reprinted from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers. Moosewood Collective. Publisher: Clarkson N. Potter, 2005.

Pimiento Cheese Bisque. Reprinted from Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant. Moosewood Collective. Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1990.