While most of my recipes posted here have been finished products (more or less), this one is still in flux. I'm going to keep tweaking things here and there. So be sure to check back frequently! Anyway, here's my stab at a red beans and rice recipe. It's mainly for Stephanie's friend Krysten who asked me for one. If anyone asks, this is my personal adaptation of the gumbopages.com recipe, John Folse's recipe, and my own accoutrements.
- 1 lb red kidney beans (dry)
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 large sweet onion
- 4 stalks/ribs of celery
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 heaping tbsp of bacon lard. You *do* keep the drippings from when you cook bacon -- don't you?
- 1 ham hock (about 1-1.5 lbs) or 3/4 lb diced ham
- 1 lb andouille sausage (I used Comeaux's pork & alligator sausage for this batch)
- 1 tbsp of Tony Cachere's creole seasoning
- 1 tsp of salt if you use diced ham instead of a ham hock
- 1 tsp minced dry thyme
- 1 large or 3 small bay leaves
- 3-6 dashes of Crystal hot sauce to taste
- 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
You're going to need 2 pots for this recipe. One is the boiling pot and the other is the cooking pot. For the boiling pot you can use any large'ish pot you use to boil things like pasta. For the cooking pot, I'd really recommend a good cast-iron pot. Cast-iron pots are great for slow simmering since the heating is very uniform and even. You can use a Dutch oven, too. It should be about 4-5 quarts in volume.
- Rinse your beans in a collinder, then place in a pot/bowl with twice the amount of water than there are beans. Leave them in the bowl overnight, changing the water at least once. This removes the "gas" from the beans and slightly reduces the cooking time.
- Boil the beans on high temp for 40-45 minutes. If you don't soak them overnight, boil them for 60 minutes. You're going for a tender, but firm bean here. No mushy stuff, yet nothing inedible.
- While the beans are cooking, chop up your trinity (onion, celery, and pepper). Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Add salt, Tony's, thyme, and 2-3 bay leaves in a small bowl and set aside.
- Mince 5-6 cloves of garlic and set aside.
- Split your sausage lengthwise and place in a bowl with your ham hocks. If your cooking pot is kind of small, you can also cut the sausages in half sideways.
- By now, your beans should be getting close to done so melt the bacon lard in the cooking pot and cook the vegetables on medium-high until the onions are just turning translucent. Mix with a spoon while cooking -- you don't want anything sticking to the bottom. While this is going, drain the cooked beans in a collinder.
- Add in the minced garlic, stir, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the strained beans to the cooking pot. Mix it all up.
- Add the ham hocks, sausage, and just enough water to cover the beans. It's OK if some of the sausage sticks up from the water.
- Add the seasonings bowl contents, Crystal hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, cut the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours. 3 hours preferred.
- Stir every 20-30 minutes while simmering. After 1.5 hours, you can taste it for salt. It's important to wait for two reasons. First, the pork won't be fully cooked until then. Second, it takes a while for the salt to cook out of the ham hocks. If you taste too early, your red beans will end up too salty.
- The consistency should be nice and creamy after 3 hours of cooking. If it's not, you either added too much water or the beans are old. Cheater's tip: smash some beans with a spoon on the side of the pot and mix 'em up. No one will know the difference.
- Serve over jasmin rice with French bread and an Abita beer. You can serve them right away, but red beans really do taste better "the next day." It's amazing what a night in the fridge will do to them. In New Orleans, we cook red beans on Sundays...and eat 'em on Monday.
Get your alligator sausage and ham hocks ready
Start ber-lin the beans!
Spoon out some of your recaptured bacon grease. You *do* keep your bacon grease, don't you?
Preparation. It's not just for boy scouts.
Just enough water to cover all the veggies and meat.
Over rice, ready to eat!