Anybody that’s been here a while knows about my love affair with rice. And that my poor ol’ Canadian, potato-loving husband is just out of luck. Because if I’m doing the cooking, we eating rice. And p.s… to the fella that said rice is yankee food on the facebook page the other day… um… well, the East Coast low country and the Gulf Coast bayou were built on rice so, those of us in those areas have rice in our blood. And that covers a pretty good chunk of the South. Whew, I've wanted to get that off my chest for a few days now. I feel so much better!
Anyway! I came across a recipe for a sausage and rice casserole in one of my old Paula Deen cookbooks the other day and just had to try it! When I pulled it out of the oven both girls came into the kitchen sniffing around like little hound dog puppies. It’s got a good bit of celery and onion in it so I had a feeling they would lose their enthusiasm when I pulled the lid off. But nope! Angel Baby asked what the green stuff was and Flossy told her, “Just don’t worry about it. It’s like spaghetti and meat loaf. There’s all kinds of stuff in spaghetti and meat loaf we don’t like but it tastes good when it’s cooked all together.”
I noticed they were hanging around pretty close as I was taking pictures. When I was done I gave them spoons and let them go to town. And those two little suckers just about knocked the bottom out of my casserole dish! I finally had to take it away from them! God bless them. God bless their little rice loving, green stuff eating, Southern hearts.
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen
1 pound pork sausage (I used “hot”)
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 stalks celery, finely diced (about a cup and a half)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 14.5-ounce can chicken or vegetable broth (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 can cream of celery soup*
1 cup uncooked white rice
Brown and crumble sausage in a large skillet. When sausage is about half cooked, add onion, celery and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until sausage is no longer pink and veggies are starting to become translucent. If your sausage is particularly fatty, drain off some of the fat – mine wasn't so I didn't need to.
Spray a medium-sized casserole dish with cooking spray or rub with butter. You don’t need anything as big as a 13x9 casserole. A 1.5 quart dish should do the trick. I used the precious red oval dish my friend Dawn left at my house. Yo, Dawn, good luck getting that one back, hooker! It’s my new favorite!
In a separate bowl, whisk together broth and soup until smooth. Pour soup mixture and rice into skillet and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Pour into prepared casserole dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove casserole from oven and let rest, covered, for 10-15 minutes before serving.
*You can use other creamed soup flavors but I highly encourage you to use Cream of Celery. I'd never used it before and really didn't know what to expect but I was genuinely impressed with it. And I'm not even a huge fan of celery! I picked it because I was already using chicken broth and I didn't want the dish to be too “chickeny” (now, there’s a word I never thought I’d use) but you can certainly use whichever soup suits your fancy. Also? I think I’m getting over my aversion to cream of whatever soups. Maybe they've just gotten better over years.