The ingredients are simple:
1-2 pounds of ground sausage. Don't like or don't have sausage? No problem. Substitute ANY meat of your choosing...anything you like will work. (See, I told you it's easy!)
1 large onion, chopped
1 14 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained. (Don't have black beans? Substitute navy beans or cannelloni)
1 large can crushed tomatoes
Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy salt-free blend (What? No Mrs. Dash? *gasp* Fine, substitute cayenne or tabasco sauce to taste)
1 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I use a long-grain/wild rice combo I buy locally. Just about any rice will do except Minute Rice or any other "instant" variety.)
In a large pot, brown the meat. As I said, if you don't have— or don't like— sausage, feel free to substitute just about any meat you want. Seriously. Stew meat, cut up chicken breast, ground beef...whatever makes you happy. After all, this is nearly in the realm of comfort food!
Rinse and drain the beans and add them to the pot. Add the tomatoes and onion. Season as liberally or conservatively as you wish with seasoning. I have a heavy hand because everyone in our house likes it spicy.
Simmer for about ten minutes then give it a few good stirs.
Add the rice and stir. Add enough water to make it a soupy consistency. Cover. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about an hour or until the rice is thoroughly cooked. You will want to stir occasionally so nothing burns on the bottom of the pan.
The beauty of this "stew" is that you can make it as thick or as thin as you want. Too thick after simmering for so long? No problem; just add a little water or broth to get the desired consistency. Too thin? Just let it simmer a bit longer.
Serve piping hot in bowls. I topped ours with some sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese and garnished with fresh cilantro. Add a salad and some hot bread or cornbread and you've got yourself a nice heart meal guaranteed to warm your insides.
** This stew is naturally gluten free and casein free. You may also adapt it for slow cookers by tossing in all the ingredients, including rice and water, and cook on low for about 8 hours. Longer is fine, too if you need to set it going before work, for example.
Omit the meat completely for a delicious vegetarian stew. You may want to add more beans for additional protein.