Red Beans and Rice
It’s a Louisiana tradition to serve Red Beans and Rice on Mondays. Years ago, Monday was known as “wash day” – an all day affair before electric washers and dryers. Women would put a big pot of beans (with leftover ham bones from Sunday’s supper) on the back of the stove whilst they were scrubbing (by hand) the week’s worth of dirty laundry.
This dish just gets better and better the longer it simmers. It’s food like this that makes me truly appreciate southern cuisine- and my washer and dryer!
Red Beans and Rice
1 pound dried red beans (kidney beans will also work if you can’t find red beans)
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound smoked andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium onions chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 whole garlic bulb (use all cloves) peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s)
8 cups chicken stock
1 pound smoked ham hock
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the beans and soak them for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. Then drain away that water when ready to cook.
In a large, heavy stock pot, melt butter over medium heat and add the andouille sausage slices. Cook until sausage just starts to brown- about 5-8 minutes.
Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Reserve any fat in the pot.
Add to pot the onions, celery, peppers and garlic and sauté until tender. (You can add another pat or so of butter if veggies start to stick to bottom of pot.)
Add the sausage back to the pot, along with the cayenne pepper, and Creole seasoning.
Add the chicken stock, ham hock, red beans and bay leaves . Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. (This is one of those dishes that gets better the longer it simmers on the stove. I like to cook mine on a low simmer for about 3-4 hours or so. Just until the beans start to turn a bit creamy, thickening the sauce.)
Stir occasionally, making sure that the beans are not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more chicken stock if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve over steamed white rice with hot sauce, chopped green onions and french bread on the side.
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