Bay leaf (plural bay leaves) refers to the aromatic leaf of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae). Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance. The leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pates in Mediterranean cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying.
The bay laurel tree has been cultivated since the beginning of recorded history; it originated in Asia Minor, and spread to the Mediterranean and other countries with suitable climates. Bay leaf is not grown in northern regions, as the plants do not thrive in cold climates. Turkey is one of the main exporters of bay leaves, although they are also grown in areas of Albania, France, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Colombia, Central America, North America, and India. The laurel tree from which the bay leaf comes was very important both symbolically and literally in both Greece and Rome. The laurel can be found as a central component found in many ancient mythologies that glorify the tree as a symbol of honor. Bay leaves are one of the most widely used culinary herbs in Europe and North America. In the Elizabethan era, some people believed pinning bay leaves to one's pillow on the eve of Saint Valentine's Day would permit one to see one's future spouse in a dream.
Red Beans And Rice With Smoked Sausage
Copyright 2011 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced, then cut each slice in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 (15.5 oz) can red beans, rinse and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
1 heaping tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup cooked rice
In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook about 5 to 7 minutes. Add onions and peppers. Stirring and cook until tender. Stir in thyme and garlic, cook about 1 minute. Add beans, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, parsley and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, until liquid has reduces. Remove bay leaf and discard bay leaf. Serve over cooked rice. Enjoy!
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