Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Riz au Fève - Small Town Louisiana Comfort Food

If you google "riz au fève", you probably won't find any results. That's because riz au feve is a dish that is unique to pockets of rural folk in Southeast Louisiana.

Riz au fève (pronounced ree-oh-fev) is a dish of rice and field peas that is similar to a jambalaya. Riz au fève translates from French to English as rice with broad beans, which are rarely grown down South. For the longest time, I've wondered how this name became attached to a dish that is completely devoid of broad beans. I'm still searching for that answer, so I'll just give you the history of riz au fève as I know it...

Ever since I was a kid, my dad and both my grandpères grew field peas in their gardens. I spent many a childhood summer afternoon sitting on a rocking chair beside Mamère shelling all those peas. For as long as I can remember, Mom and Mamère cooked field peas two ways -- by the pot full, served over rice, or in a riz au fève.

Mom and Mamère didn't usually add meat to their riz au fèves. However, I started mine with a package of field peas and tasso that I'd had in the freezer. Because it's freezer cleanup time at our house, I even added some pulled pork I'd found hanging out near the field peas.

The only other thing I know about riz au fève is that it's as pure, simple, and about as comforting as food gets.

Riz au Fève
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
3/4 c celery, minced
3/4 c orange or yellow bell pepper, minced
3/4 c onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c field peas, cooked
1/2 lb of diced, cooked meat (smoked sausage, pork, etc.), optional
2 c extra long grain rice, cooked and refrigerated
2 Tbsp chopped chives
Creole seasoning
1/2 c - 1 c chicken broth or hot water
black pepper
cayenne pepper
hot sauce

  1. Heat oil in a pot or dutch oven or medium-high heat.
  2. Saute' celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic and thyme in olive oil until softened and aromatic.
  3. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir.
  4. Add the field peas, stirring well. Lower heat to medium.
  5. Add the rice, stirring gently to break up any lumps and distribute evenly.
  6. Add some Creole seasoning, the chives, and some hot sauce. Stir gently to mix.
  7. If using meat, add it to the pot and stir again.
  8. Pour in 1/2 c chicken broth to moisten and pull the dish together. If rice seems dry, add more broth.
  9. Let the mixture heat through.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with a green salad.

Related Topics
Southern Field Peas

6 red beans:

Geggie said...

Yum! I just made a big ol' pot of field peas and they were great. Never had riz au feve though, sounds great!

misti said...

Love this post!!! Recipe and story :) I used to shell peas with my mom and mawmaw too. They made something similar to this often.

Bob said...

Sounds good to me. I've never had it before, but I love jambalaya.

Make a Roux said...

Geggie, nothing like a nice big bowl of field peas! YUM!

Thanks, Misti. What do y'all call your version of the dish?

Hey Bob, You should definitely try it some time!

Amy said...

Oh man! That sounds so good. I love field peas and I too have fond memories of shelling them with my MeeMaw (purple hull peas too). Couple that with the fact that you posted this on my birthday? This dish is so for me! Looking forward to making it. Thanks Roux! XO

Make a Roux said...

Amy, maybe you could make some of that spoonbread on the side! Hope you had a terrific birthday!

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