Thursday, December 27, 2012

Creamy Chicken and Rice

It's winter outside and time for some of my favorite comfort foods. One of my favorites is my Creamy Chicken and Rice. I guess technically it is a casserole, but not in the "just throw everything in a baking dish" sense. I always try and save half of a rotisserie chicken for this when I buy one. I use the rotisserie chicken because of it's wonderful flavor it imparts to the dish. I also use these tasty chickens in my Jambalaya recipe as well. I have to say that Walmart has about the best rotisserie chickens I have found.

I have several other "Chicken and Rice" dishes but this one is my favorite. My Mom used to make one that was the inspiration for this version. I added a touch of cayenne and a little more garlic than you might like, I like it a little spicy. You can leacve out the chicken and substitute other types of cream soups like celery and mushroom if you want to use this as a side dish with your chicken or whatever.

2-3 cups cooked chicken meat
1½ cups water
1½ cups uncooked rice
2 10 oz. cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
½ large onion (diced small)
2 sticks celery (sliced thin)
4-5 cloves of garlic (minced fine)
3 green onions (with green tops, sliced thin)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Tony Chachere's
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs minced parsley (dried or fresh)
¼ stick butter
2 tbs oil

Preheat oven to 350º, then in an oven-proof pot (with a lid) on the stove at MED heat, saute the onions and celery in the butter and oil. When wilted, add green onions, garlic, and all seasonings. Cook 5 mins., then add chicken and cook for another 5 mins. Add water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir well to incorporate. Cook until rice has nearly absorbed all the liquid. Add the soup and stir well to make sure all is blended well. Place covered in the oven for 45 mins. to an hour. Rice should be done and tender with a nice bubbly crust on top. Let it steam for about 10 mins and serve.

I always use my left over rotisserie chicken for this recipe. I usually have about half a chicken, the thighs and one side of the breast meat, left over for this recipe. If you use fresh chicken, make sure it is cooked done before adding rice. You can omit the oil and add more butter, but be careful not to burn your vegetables when you sauté them, the oil helps prevent that.

Enjoy this dish during the winter months to take the chill off, I think you'll love the richness of it.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scottish Shortbread for Christmas

Here is a quick traditional Scottish recipe for Christmas. One of my family's favorite Holiday recipes. A friend from Scotland taught me this recipe. Merry Christmas!

Scottish Shortbread

2 cups all-purpose flour - sifted
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup real butter - softened

Preheat oven to 325º. Sift flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Gradually add butter into the mixture and combine with pastry blender or a fork. Pat mixture onto an un-greased cookie sheet. Pat it out thin and pierce with a fork about every inch. bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into squares and sprinkle with colored sugar while still warm.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Leapin Lizzards! It's Gizzards

When most people hear the word gizzard in relation to Southern cooking, they automatically think of Granny from the BEverly Hillbillies who often spoke of Crow Gizzards, Hawk Gizzards, etc. when she rattled off her daily menu for the family. The lowly gizzard is something I eschewed for most of my life. Up until 2 years ago, I had never eaten a gizzard. Now I've had livers, which I am not too fond of, maybe the texture or the organ meat twang, but never a gizzard.

I had seen an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, with Guy Fieri, about a place called Joe's Gizzard City. They were frying up gizzards by the bucket-full for their patrons who were putting them away. So I thought I would give them a try. After a little experimentation, I have come up with my own recipe. Now I will warn you GIZZARDS ARE CHEWY! I do not par-boil or pressure-cook my gizzards, but I do have a step that helps to tenderize them and mellow out their taste a little.

I am finding when I buy gizzards, it's usually Tyson, they come with hearts. The heart is a nice little less-chewy tidbit that is like a little bonus. I wash them thoroughly and look for any yellowish-green skin that pulls right off, this doesn't occur very often maybe 1 piece per pound if that many. Just peel it off and throw it away. I soak 1 pound of them in a cup or so of buttermilk, overnight in the fridge to ready them for action. I then drain and shake off the excess buttermilk, (I really give them a shaking in a sieve or strainer, you don't want them dripping), let them sit on a plate and dry for a bit to bring them up to nearly room temperature. I dust them in the flour mixture and pan fry them. Here's what you need...

Fried Chicken Gizzards
1 lb chicken gizzards with/without hearts
3 cups of flour
1 cup cornmeal (I like yellow)
3-4 tbs Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1-1½ cup buttermilk + 2 tbs salt added to buttermilk
enough oil for half inch in cast iron skillet.

First, soak the gizzards overnight in a zip-lock bag with buttermilk and salt. Remove from fridge and drain really well, DON'T RINSE, and lay out on plate to dry and come up to room temp.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large zip-lock plastic bag. Take gizzards and dredge them in flour mixture. toss them around with bag zip-locked making sure they are well coated. Leave them in bag and start your oil heating in skillet on MED/HI. When oil is really hot, (pinch off and test a small bit of coating from one of the gizzards) use a sieve or strainer to shake off excess flour mixture. One at a time ease the gizzards into the hot oil.

You might want to fry them in two batches so as not to overcrowd the skillet. Overcrowding lowers the oil temp and they do not fry as well. Cook until nice and brown on the outside, turning them as they cook. I like to put them on a rack and keep in a warm over for about 20 mins. I think this helps tenderize them. Get ready for some chewing, but it's good chewing!

Dipping Sauce
4 tbs mayo
4 tbs sour cream
1 tbs yellow mustard
1 tsp Tony Chachere's
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp smoky paprika (opt.)
1 tsp tabasco or Sambal Chili Sauce

Combine all ingredients and enjoy dipping your Gizzards. You might want to try my Jezebel Sauce Recipe with these as well. You can pressure cook your gizzards in water and spices, or par-boil them but I like them just fine like this. If you have a deep fryer, they will turn out great. Have fun making Gizzards, the good news is... THEY'RE CHEAP!!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making Sausage Cornbread

I told you last time we would be doing Sausage Cornbread as a follow-up for my cornbread recipe, well here it is. My buddy and fellow banjo player Tucker McCandless loves this sausage cornbread, and I fix it every so often and take him some, his Mama Cassie likes it too. I am going to repeat my cornbread recipe so you don't have to keep scrolling around the blog looking for it. I do this in two different skillets, the reason is frying sausage seems to stick in my cast iron skillet, plus I like to keep it nice and slick for cornbread. I use quite a large skillet (11 in. across the top) and use whatever saute pan for the sausage and onions.

The sausage filling consists of...

1 lb country breakfast sausage (broken up)
1 med onion (diced)
8 - 10 leaves of fresh dried sage (rough chop)
4 green onions (sliced thin with green)
½ tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper

Crumble up the sausage and combine with all other ingredients into the saute pan and cook until sausage is done. Drain grease and set aside to cool.

Now for the Cornbread
2 cups yellow cornmeal (I like martha White)
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp parsley flakes
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
2 tbs oil (I like corn oil)
2 tbs bacon grease

Put bacon grease in a cast iron skillet, and place in a preheated 425º oven for 10 mins. Mix first 3 dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl with a whisk. Mix next 3 wet ingredients in another bowl or big measuring cup. Combine wet and dry using whisk. Add sausage mixture and combine thoroughly.

Remove skillet from oven. Pour batter mix into melted, hot bacon grease and give the skillet a little shake to settle the mix. Bake for 15 mins. or so until top of the cornbread browns a little and you cap tap the top and feel it is solid. Tucker I hope your Mama dont see this or she'll do it better than me, you won't want mine anymore. I got this dish from my dearly departed Aunt Stella Yeary Burnette. She was one of the best cooks ever. I love her and miss her. She taught me a lot in her kitchen and when she'd come over to mine. This was my favorite of her specialties.

Friday, November 30, 2012

French Market Coffee Company

While in New Orleans, one of the features of its cuisine is the coffee. Second only to the food, beverages are an important part of the tourist economy, and brewing and serving coffee is a fine art in restaurants and shops, especially around the French Quarter.

There are several popular outlets for coffee that people look to once they hit town, but some of the best coffee I have found is also one I have had in my home, and that's French market Coffees. I love and crave all those flavors of the Big Easy, but now I can get great coffee that reminds me of my days strolling along through town sampling its wares.

I have tried the blue packaged Dark Roast, as well as the green Decaffeinated coffee. Now, I have been trying to use decaf for a while, maybe every other cup I have is decaffeinated. Many decaf coffees fall short, but not French Market. It is as bold and robust as any brands of regular caffeinated coffee, as well as their regular coffee.

I love strong, dark tasting coffee and these coffees are never bitter, but give you that New Orleans influenced flavor. They also have chicory coffee that is one of my favorites as well. They also have the following speciality coffees...

Double Vanilla
A decadent vanilla flavor and enticing aroma make this coffee the perfect treat.

Guatemalan Medium Roast
This single-source coffee gives a delightful, full-bodied cup with well-balanced acidity.

Hazelnut Creme
We add hazelnut and a touch of creamy vanilla to our signature Medium Roast for a taste that's truly indulgent.

New Orleans French Roast
This careful blend of Indonesian, African, and South American beans creates a flavor as complex as New Orleans itself.

Arabica Coffee with Pralines and Cream Flavor
In this premium coffee, you'll find notes of roasted pecans, caramelized sugar, and a touch of cream.

The Bartlett and Dodge families started French Market Coffee in 1890, in New Orleans’ bustling French Market. To this day they continue to roast the choicest Arabica beans and specially grind them to create the quintessential New Orleans coffee. It is also served in the city’s finest restaurants, many of which have been serving French Market Coffee for over 100 years.

Click HERE and find out how you can try their amazing coffees in your home, you'll be glad you did. This is an unpaid testimonial because I love their products, and I know you will too.

Be sure to see their products and like them on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cornbread Cooking Class

Here is my tried and true, tested recipe for some of the best cornbread ever. My late sister-in-law Sharlene made some of the best cornbread I had eaten. I really miss her and her love for great food. I worked on this recipe until I got it right. You do not have to use yellow cornmeal, I just like the color, although the one in the picture is white cornmeal.

I am gonna post the recipe for my Sausage Cornbread next. You think the cornbread is good, awww baby, the sausage cornbread will bring your tongue to it's knees. I use a cast iron skillet and recommend you do as well to get that good crispy texture on the bottom.

2 cups yellow cornmeal (I like martha White)
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
½ tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 tbs oil (I like corn oil)
2 tbs bacon grease

Put bacon grease in a cast iron skillet, and place in a preheated 425º oven for 10 mins. Mix first 3 dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl with a whisk. Mix next 3 wet ingredients in another bowl or big measuring cup. Combine wet and dry using whisk.

Remove skillet from oven. Pour batter mix into melted, hot bacon grease and give the skillet a little shake to settle the mix. Bake for 15 mins. or so until top of the cornbread browns a little and you cap tap the top and feel it is solid. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let's Fry Some Chicken

Frying Chicken always looked so simple when Mama made some or one of my Aunts or Grandmothers, but actually doing it seemed perplexing. I love all kinds of Fried Chicken, I always assumed I would love deep-fried chicken best, but then I would think about the flavorful, tender fried chicken Mama made in her electric skillet. After reading lots of ways online, I decided to do my own deal. So here is my Fried Chicken recipe, and remember you don't have to use cast iron, but it sure helps.

Cousin Timmy’s Fried Chicken

1 cut up chicken (or 8 of your favorite pieces)
2 cups flour (self-rising or plain)
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika (I prefer smoked paprika)
vegetable oil or shortening for frying
*brine is 4 cups water and ¼ cup of sea salt

Rinse chicken off under faucet, place in one-gallon plastic zip-lock bag, add 4 cups water and the ¼ cup salt for brining. Seal and “smoosh” around to distribute chicken and salt. Place in fridge for several hours, (I like to leave mine overnight).

Remove chicken and rinse off under tap again, dry chicken off with paper towels. Combine the flour and all ingredients in a bowl. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour mixture and lay on a paper plate. In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch Oven, pour enough oil to fill about ½ inch of the skillet, turn on MED HI. When oil is hot, roll the first piece of chicken in the flour mixture again and shake off excess flour. Add to oil, repeat process until skillet is full. Turn oil down slightly and turn chicken pieces until all pieces are brown all over.

Make sure all the chicken is done, pierce the breast pieces and make sure all the juices run clear. Big pieces will take longer that the wings and legs. Place the smaller pieces in a pan covered in foil in an oven at 275°. When all pieces are done place them in the 275° oven with the rest for about 30 minutes. This will tenderize the chicken and insure doneness. You will love this chicken.

Enjoy friends!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Turkey Craw Beans

I had never heard of Turkey Craw Beans until my old pal Fiddle Dave Pierce fixed me a bunch. These are, to me, like a cross between a half runner and a shelly bean. Nice pods with huge beans in them. They are sort-of bulbous looking but oh so tasty.
I cooked these up like Mama used to cook them, a little bacon grease and cook'em down to the bottom of the pot. What do I mean? When cooking them, mama used to cook them in water, nearly covering them and then would cook the water out of them. You get a rich flavorful tasty bean that is perfect with a piece of cornbread and a few tomato slices. If you are the type that likes veggies crispy, don't use this method to cook your Turkey Craw or any other string bean. I have also used this method on Half-Runners and Greasy Back beans.

These are quite easy to make, I don't really need to give you a recipe per se, but here is a description on how to properly cook the wonderful beans.
Start with enough beans to fill your 5 qt. cooker, (2 - 3 pounds) You will need to string these beans, you can also snap them but I like leaving them whole. In the bottom of your cooker add a couple of tbs of bacon grease, or cooking oil, and bring pot up to MED/HI. I add a tsp of Tony Chachere's and a tsp of Black Pepper. I also like to add ½ tsp garlic powder or 1 tbs dried garlic chips.

Add your beans, you can fill it all way up to the brim, as they will cook down. Now add just enough water to where it comes up just under your beans. Now, bring the beans up to a boil for about 15 - 20 mins. Turn down the heat and cook your beans to cook clowly turning them every once in a while. Cover and cook on low for a bit until tender. Now remove the lid and cook them until all the liquid has cooked off. Oh man are these good. Don't salt them too much as cooking the liquid off concentrates all flavors and the might be too salty.

Our next post will teach you to make the best cornbread ever!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Terrible Pie Tragedy

A horrible tragedy has befallen a wonderful old New Orleans landmark. In operation since 1922 the Hubig's Pies Factory was totally destroyed early Friday morning in a 5 alarm fire. The family left the following message on their website...

On behalf of the Hubig's Pies family we would like to thank everyone for all of the love and support we have received throughout the years and during this difficult time. The abundant amount of thoughts, prayers, and strength that is being sent our way during this time is much appreciated. We are blessed to be part of such a resilient community and we send our immense gratitude to all of the first responders who "put this out with their tears." We will continue to update you on our progress. "REBUILD RESTORE REHUBIG'S, WE WILL NOT LOSE OUR FLAVOR!"

With Love, The Bowman and Ramsey Families.

It is unbelievable the amount of love that has been coming our way. We are truly blessed to have such loyal customers. Per all of your requests, we have contacted our t-shirt supplier and Hubig's Pies shirts are being made as we speak. You can place orders now and we will get them sent to all of you as soon as we possibly can. Again, we thank you for all of your heart warming thoughts and kind words.

We wish the families and all their employees well, and hope they're soon back up and running. My very first visit to New Orleans I was given one of these wonderful little pies and have been hooked since. My favorite is coconut. They wont be down for long! Stay tuned for more info on Hubig's New Orleans Style Pies!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Low Country Shrimp & Grits

I realize some of the posts recently have not been about Cajun and Creole foods. The reason being I have changed jobs and am no longer working out of New Orleans. Now don't worry, I am still maintaining the Cajun and Creole name and all that goes with it, but I am expanding the menu a bit to include more Low Country, Appalachian and Smoky Mountain recipes as well.

I recently spent some time in Charleston and had some wonderful meals, so you can look forward to posts about some great restaurants we encountered there. I thought I would start the series off with my foray into Low Country cuisine by posting my own Shrimp and Grits recipe for you folks. I made it for some friends recently and it was a huge success. Here you go!

Low Country Shrimp & Grits

2 cups Quick Grits
3 cups water
3 cups milk
1/4 stick butter
1 cup grated colby/jack cheese
1/2 cup andouille smoked sausage (grated)
1 tbs Cajun Seasoning (Tony Chachere's)
1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, salt, and black pepper

1 - 2 lbs of Medium Shrimp (1 lb for every 3 people)
1/4 stick butter
1 tbs oil
1 tbs Cajun Seasoning (Tony Chachere's)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin

Roux Sauce
1/4 stick butter
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes (or diced, canned tomatoes, drained well)
1 tbs flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbs minced parsley

Prepare the girts by combining the milk, water, butter, andouille, and spices in a pot and bringing it to a boil on MED HI. Whisk in your grits gradually to avoid lumps. Stir in all the grits and turn the pot down to MED and stir from time to time. When grits have thickened up stir in the cheese gradually to avoid clumps. Turn down to LO and check for seasoning.

In a hot skillet on MED HI, add oil and melt butter. Toss the Cajun Spice on the shrimp and let set a minute. Add the garlic into the pan and let it brown slightly, then add your shrimp in enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. These will not take long to cook, but I like a little brown crusties around the edges. Add the green onions and stir well to give them a little heat as well.

After removing the shrimp, toss in you remaining butter and let it melt. This skillet should have a little "graton" browning in the bottom, using a wooden spoon scrape the pan to combine the little dregs with the butter. Add the flour and stir constantly until it is a nutty brown. Add the worcestershire and stir well. Now toss in the tomatoes and stir for about a minute until the tomatoes wilt. Add the heavy cream and stir well to combine. This is not a low-fat dish.

Spoon the grits in a nice portion onto a plate, arrange the shrimp onto the grits and spoon the sauce over the shrimp. Enjoy!

I had shrimp and grits in Charleston a couple of times, while they were great, I liked mine better. If you want to take the time to use regular stone ground grits instead of quick grits, you are welcome to, I use both but when in a hurry, it is easier with the instant..

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Growing Tomatoes all up in Here!

Well, I have threatened to plant tomatoes for a while now and I finally did it. On a small scale to see how I do. I have 3, yes 3 tomato plants in plastic buckets and can't wait for them to spring up. I love tomatoes, but hate the old plastic tasting ones you get through the winter. I would rather go without than eat one of those. My favorite salad is tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and celery. All diced up and sprinkled with apple cider vinegar, black pepper, salt and dill weed. Awwww man!

I have planted 3 different types...
1. Mister Stripey, a yellow tomato with red streaks.
2. An heirloom called Rutgers
3. Another heirloom called German Queen

I wanted Cherokee Black tomatoes but couldn't find the plants, gonna keep looking though, they are my favorite. OK gotta go water them. Stay tuned and I will give you tomato updates.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jessica Potts - Culinary Arts Student

Hello my blog friends, I want you to meet a wonderful young lady. She is my neighbor Jessica Potts, she not only shares my love of cooking and food but she has decided to make it her life's work. As part of her educational requirements and my own desire for you to meet her, I am presenting her essay on why she has decided to attend Walters State Community College in Sevierville, Tennessee. I hope you enjoy her youthful exuberance and excitement for her chosen field.

Upon seeing Walters State Community College, its beautiful campus nestled in a valley of the Great Smoky Mountains, it immediately captured my interest. Although this is a satellite campus, it's perfect for the student that desires the individualized attention that the faculty provides. While viewing the facilities, I noticed the amount of community involvement. Upon entering the culinary arts facilities I was astounded at the state-of-the-art learning environment as well as the supplies provided to the students. After reviewing the quality amenities and more, it was not difficult for me to make my decision quickly.

Since Walters State is a small school it allows the students to develop a personal relationship with their professors. I know that my professors don't just view me as a grade, they are genuinely concerned about my success and education. One personal example was a professor who helped me find a job knowing I needed one. All my professors have real world experience and can easily apply their knowledge to the lessons while captivating the class’ attention. The faculty is more than eager to offer help outside of class time and are always available to answer questions and encourage students to excel in their field of study.

Being that Walters State is located in Sevier County, which is a small community, it is very important to be active in charitable causes. While attending Walters State I have participated in a variety of community service projects which include: Sevier County Food Ministries, Pro- Start Culinary Competition, and Refuge Prayer Gathering. I am grateful that Walters State provided these opportunities for me to give back to my community by donating my time and skills to improve other’s lives.

The facilities permit a lucrative learning environment due to access to proper equipment and plentiful supplies. This makes learning cooking methods much easier and less stressful due to the students always having proper functioning, professional equipment. The students also have the prospect of learning a variety of cooking techniques due to the impressive assortment of tools at their disposal.

There are many reasons why I chose to attend Walters State. From the first day on I couldn't be happier with my choice to further my education at this school. There was no hesitation to apply after I toured the college and saw the boundless opportunities it offers its students. After enrolling in the culinary arts program, my interest has grown measurably due to my wonderful experience and pleasant learning environment.


Jessica Potts

This scholarship is sponsored by

Monday, January 9, 2012

Farmland Foods Smoked Spiral Ham Slices and Pieces

I found this product at my WalMart here in Sevierville and have fallen in love with it. Now you all should know, I love the crispy, sometimes crunchy parts of meats. For example, I love the end-cut of prime rib, I love the crispy skin on the turkey, and the crunchy bits left around the bone in a ham, smoked or fresh. I also love the taste of smoked, cured ham and using it for seasoning dishes such as beans, soups, or whatever. I have an economical answer to all these.

Farmland Foods Smoked Spiral Ham Slices and Pieces is a package of scraps, chunks, and I'd say about 60 - 65% of it are nice slices for sandwiches. Oh those big chunks are amazing. I had seen this kind of packaging of ham scraps in New Orleans with other companies, but we don't get those up here in Tennessee. This ham is wonderful tasting, right amount of smokiness, and great for seasoning nearly anything or just nibbling on. Tonight I am using some in my Jambalaya along with andouille sausage, and chicken. Check out the Farmland Foods website above, or if you are at WalMart, ask about these taste tidbits and morsels by Farmland. If you go to their website they have a store locator, if you contact Farmland, tell them RouxBDoo sent you!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Curried Lentil and Barley Soup

It is wintertime and I love to make and eat soup at this time of year. Now, there are other soups besides gumbo, shrimp stew, and crab bisque, believe it or not. This soup has an Indian flair to it with the inclusion of the cilantro and curry powder, similar to a Dal.

Lentil and barley can have a positive effect on your health as they are great sources of fiber. Your vegetarian friends will love it, without the bouillon cube of course. I dedicate this to my Indian "family" members Mangesh Desai and his beautiful sister Prachi Desai. I have mentioned Mangesh before but his gorgeous sister, whom I've never met, has become a wonderful long distance friend. The are originally from Mumbai, but Prachi now lives in London. Mangesh is a successful variety television producer in Mumbai. He calls me his "American Dad".

Curried Lentil and Barley Soup

1 cup lentils
¾ cup barley (Quaker Oats Medium)
½ large onion (diced)
2 ribs of celery (diced)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 8 oz. can Rotel (diced tomatoes and peppers)
2 tbs Curry powder
1 Chicken bouillon cube (opt.)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
½ tbs salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs fresh cilantro
2 tbs green onions (sliced thin)
3 tbs oil (any type)
10 - 12 cups water

In one pot on MED/HI, boil 4 cups of water, once boiling add the barley and stir to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.

In another pot on MED/HI heat the oil. Saute the onions, garlic, and celery until wilted. Add all spices, herbs and stir well. Rinse the lentils in water a couple of times and then add to the pot. Stir until the lentils are incorporated into the mix, then add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil for about 10 mins.

Dissolve the bouillon cube in 2 cups of boiling water.

Once the barley has nearly absorbed the water add it into the lentil mix. Add the can of Rotel tomatoes, the bouillon, and check the seasonings and consistency of the soup, add a cup of water if you'd like. Bring all to a boil for 10 mins. and turn down to MED/LO. Simmer about and hour or until lentils and barley are soft and tender.

This, like gumbo is much thicker and tastier the next day.