Wild is the music of autumnal winds, amongst the faded woods. — William Wordsworth
Add a Caribbean flair to your next supper with a dish of chicken sausage, black beans and rice with sweet potatoes. A weeknight meal that’s easy, flavorful and satisfying. Pair the meal with a seasonal favorite, cranberry nut bread. Each bite bursts with tart, tangy cranberries, cinnamony sweet flavor with the added crunch of walnuts.
Chicken sausage, black beans and rice with sweet potatoes
Cook’s notes: Recipe serves 3-4 depending on the size of the bowl. I used a large fry pan to make this dish.
2 cups diced sweet potatoes (1 medium sweet potato)
1 TB. each olive oil and maple syrup
Sprinkle of Saigon cinnamon and crushed thyme
1-8 oz. package of Vigo black beans and rice
Optional 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 package chicken sausage links, fully cooked, e.g. chicken sausage links with mango and jalepeno or habanero and green chile or highly suggested product Gilberts Aloha brand with pineapple, brown sugar and ginger
Dice 3-4 chicken sausage links and set aside.
Toss diced sweet potatoes with olive oil and maple syrup. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and crushed thyme.
Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir once during the cooking time. Remove and set aside.
Cook black beans and rice according to manufacturer’s package directions.
Last 10 minutes of cooking time add in diced sausages and roasted sweet potatoes. If using corn add in at this time.
Cranberry orange nut bread
Cook’s notes: Perfect loaf for fall and early winter as cranberries, oranges, and walnuts are plentiful and in season. Buy an orange and squeeze it fresh to get the best juice for this recipe (grate the peel first). You can easily prep the cranberries by pulsing them a few times in the food processor, or manually cut them in half first. I used frozen ones so easier to cut and you only need one cup.
Recipe inspired by onceuponachef.com and makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf (about 10 slices)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp. grated orange zest, from one orange
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 TB. butter, melted
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped coarse and tossed with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar
1/2-3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom of 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, orange zest, buttermilk, butter and egg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Stir liquid ingredients into dry with rubber spatula until just moistened.
Gently stir in cranberries and nuts. Do not over mix.
Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
Cool loaf in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and cool at least one hour before serving..
Twice a month The Seasonal Plate food column will highlight dishes inspired by the changing seasons. My passion for travel, poetry, writing, exploring new cuisines, trying recipes and cooking have been inspiration for the recipes I have published on my blog http://www.sockfairies.blogspot.com.
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Sue Ready is a writer, poet and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack.