Cookin with The Columns: Simply ravishing rice

I was looking through cookbooks this week to decide on a recipe to share with you and came across this one from Tunica Academy’s Easy Livin’ cookbook.  I know a lot of you have this cookbook, but sometimes we fail to go through the cookbooks we have to try new recipes.  (If you don’t have one of these cookbooks they are available several places around town and at the school.)

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I guess what made me stop at this one is that it is from Ellis Koonce, Jr.  Now I know that Big Ellis is good at a lot of things but I never realized that maybe he is also a cook.  Possibly he just likes to eat this particular dish and had someone put it in the cookbook with his name on it.  
Anyway, it sounds really good and I think I might try it sometime soon. The question for the week is:  does Big Ellis really cook or does he just like to eat?

1 pound bulk hot sausage
1 large onion (chopped)
1 large green pepper (chopped)
1 cup celery (chopped)
4 1/2 cups boiling water
2 envelopes chicken noodle soup mix
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup almonds (slivered)

Cook sausage over low heat in large skillet, pouring off grease and stirring to crumble meat.  Combine chopped onion, green pepper and celery and set aside.  Boil soup mix and rice in boiling water for 7 minutes.  DO NOT DRAIN.  
Combine soup mixture, vegetables and sausage; mix well.  Put into 2 quart casserole.  Sprinkle top with slivered almonds and paprika.  Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serves 10-12.  Variation:  You may roll the sausage into balls and add to the top of casserole before baking.  If desired, you may add sherry after the casserole has cooked.  Pour 1/4 cup sherry over the casserole immediately after removing from oven.
Cover for a short while before serving.

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