Suzi's Blog

Drunken Red Beans with New Mexican Rice


Yes, the picture above is the same as yesterday. That post was for the turkey medallions on the right, recipe circa 1988.

The beans and rice on the top and left are, on the other hand, much more recent recipes: 1991! If you have never seen Rice: The Amazing Grain by Marie Simmons then you owe yourself a visit to a bookstore or, more likely Amazon. You can still get a copy after 22 years. There’s no better way to spend $5!

Pairing this beans and rice dish with turkey medallions gives you a hearty meal with complementary textures as well and flavors. This dish is not quick. A few hours are needed for cooking and simmering. The investment in time will be repaid, I promise. The first bite will remind draw a smile as all the ingredients sparkle in their own flavor layers. Rice and bean dishes can be, forgive me, boringly bland. Not this gem.

Which is why, if you can, you’ll find putting Rice: The Amazing Grain a wise choice for your bookshelf.

Drunken Red Beans and New Mexican Rice 

Yield: serves 6


For the beans:

  • ¼ cup flavorful extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans, rinsed and soaked
  • 1-5 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tequila (plus a little more if you like)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 piece (about 1 ½ inches) cinnamon stick
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste

For the rice:

  • 3 tablespoons flavorful extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 3 ½ cups of half unsalted chicken broth and half water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pared and finely chopped carrot
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup diced (¼ inch) sweet red onion
  • ½ cup diced (¼ inch) green bell pepper


For the beans:

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onions and sauté, stirring, until coated with oil. Cover and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté uncovered, for 3 minutes.

Drain the beans, then add them and the broth to the onion. Heat to boiling and cook, covered, over low heat for 2 hours. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon. Cover and continues to cook until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt and hot red pepper sauce and add tequila. (The beans can be prepared up to 24 hours before serving. Reheat, adding additional broth if necessary).

For the rice:

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the onion and garlic, and sauté, stirring, just until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice until coated with oil. Add the water (or broth and water) and salt, then heat to boiling. Cover and cook the rice over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet. Add the carrot, celery, and red onion, and sauté, stirring, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and sauté until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Toss half of the sautéed vegetables with the rice just before serving. Spread a mound of the rice in a shallow soup plate and top with the beans. Garnish each with a spoonful of the remaining sautéed vegetables.

Source: Rice: The Amazing Grain, Marie Simmons, 1991



Turkey Medallions with Tequila Lime Sauce




“I need help,” Suzen said. She had a different tone to her voice.

My wife often asks for help. I will get in trouble for saying this, but she has a tendency to misplace things. Keys, phone, iPad, keys. Especially the keys. She “knows” where it item has to be. I never go to that place, that room she says it has to be in, because I know that the missing item will be found in a different room. Eventually, the lost item is found. I love her sigh of relief that always comes when the item is revealed. She raises her shoulders, relaxes, and life is resumed.

This time the “help” she needed was not for keys. It was for something that she had never had, but now needed.

“I told a client,” she began, “that I would give them a Mexican turkey dish. We need to find one.”

So, we began a treasure hunt. Somewhere in 3000 cookbooks, there had to be a recipe that would work. Like a squirrel going for buried nuts, Suzen zoomed to the shelf of Mexican cookbooks. She passed over the newer ones and went to the stare of the shelf: oldest book first. Suzen began Cooking by the Book in 1988. And in 1998 the Junior League of Los Angeles published Gourmet LA. One of those league members contributed this exceptionally flavorful recipe.

These turkey breasts, cooked with lime juice and tequila and cream and coriander, can only be described as addictive comfort food. Very addictive. You’ll have one, then dive for another. And there is never enough sauce! One more spoonful is always needed.

These medallions are quite easy to make, so this is a great “quick dinner” dish. With tequila in the sauce, the pairing here is, not with wine, but with some tequila beverage: say, a straightforward, rocks and salt margarita.

The red beans and rice on the left of the picture are the perfect complement. Look for that recipe tomorrow!

Turkey Medallions with Tequila Lime Sauce 

Yield: serves 4


  • 8 turkey medallions, approximately 1 ½ pounds, or 1 ½-2 pounds turkey breast, boned and sliced into 4-ounce slices
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon gold tequila
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Cilantro sprigs for garnish


Pound each medallion between sheets of wax paper to ⅛-inch thickness.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and sauté the turkey over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Add lime juice and tequila to the skillet and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add remaining butter and stir until smooth.

Stir in cream and coriander and simmer for another 3 minutes. Add cilantro, chives, salt, and pepper and stir. Remove from heat.

Pour sauce over turkey medallions. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro.

Source: Gourmet LA, Junior League of Los Angeles, 1988