Friday, December 28, 2012

Red Beans & Rice

I'm not cajun or creole and my family never served red beans & rice.  I actually didn't visit NOLA untl this past summer.  Many years ago I had a cook book from Chef Paul Prudhomme and one from Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet).  Of course the former is filled with Cajun and Creole recipes and the latter has a good section of NOLA comfort food.  Recently I've created an amalgamation of the many and modified it appropriately.

Red beans and rice is traditionally served on Monday's - which was wash day.  The domestic goddess of the home was busy washing laundry and needed a dish that basically cooked itself (long before crock pots I suppose).  So the tradition was created. 

I'm making this part of my New Years Day celebration.  Not everyone enjoys black eyed peas so this will be a nice alternative.


1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted
1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt (or no salt seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon each black pepper, white pepper and red pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 quarts vegetable stock 
water for soaking
Cooked brown rice (cook it in stock rather than water for better flavor)
Dash of liquid smoke
1 tsp tabasco sauce
Chopped scallions for garnish


Rinse and soak beans for 8 hours.  Drain water and rinse beans again.  In appropriately sized stock pot saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celery until vegetables are soft (but not mushy).  Add beans and stock and bring mixture to a boil.  Toss in all other ingredients (but not liquid smoke, tabasco and scallions).  Allow mixture to simmer for about 2 hours.  If it becomes too thick add a little water or stock and stir. 
After it has cooked for 2 hours remove some of the mixture (a few cups) and blend with an immersion blender and return to the pot.  This will make it creamier and thicker.  If you do not have an immersion blender use a potato masher - be creative! Adjust seasonings to your taste.  Every family is different.
Add liquid smoke and tabasco sauce and simmer for an additional 15-30 minutes. 
Serve in a large bowl.  Mound of rice, topped with beans, sprinkled with scallions.  Ta-da. My son and I enjoy adding hot sauce to our bowl. 

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