Red beans and rice is a Monday night New Orleans tradition. I have to confess though that I made this dish on a Monday about three weeks ago, took a picture, and never blogged about it. In fact, I haven't blogged at all in over three weeks and I am not sure how that happened. Some of the time I was struggling with a lingering sinus infection, and when I didn't feel crappy, I tried to walk 4-5 miles a day or go to the gym to strength-train. I knit my sister a scarf for her birthday -- the only knitting project I have finished in 2010. I read a couple of books. So now, after not blogging much at all in October, I decided to throw myself back into it by signing up for NaBloPoMo for the month of November and try to post every day!
I like to make red beans and rice about one Monday a month during the fall. The story goes that Louisiana housewives would make the dish on Mondays because it was wash day. They could put a pot of beans on in the morning and be free to do laundry all day since dinner was good to go. Tradition aside, its not a bad idea to make them on Sunday for Monday night dinner since they are better the next day
Red Beans and Rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 pound dried red beans
- 8-10 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 pound smoked ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 4-6 cups cooked white rice
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- The night before you plan to cook the beans, pour them into a colander, pick threw the beans and rinse them. Put the beans into a pot and cover with water. Soak them overnight and then drain.
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until the vegetables soften (about 5 minutes).
- Add the beans, chicken broth, peppers, hot sauce, thyme, bay leaves and ham. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the beans for about 4 hours, adding water or chicken broth to thin as needed. The beans are ready when they are soft and creamy and broth is slightly soupy but not watery.
- Serve with white rice and garnish with parsley.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes (plus time for beans to soak)
Cook time: 4 hours
Many recipes for red beans and rice start with the trinity of onion, green bell pepper and celery. I don't like bell pepper (and it doesn't like me right back) so my trinity for this and lots of other dishes is onion, garlic and celery.
The preferred brand of red beans is Camellia, but I would have had to drive 30 minutes to Banner Elk to buy them so I went for an organic dark red bean that I found at Earth Fare instead. I need to make a grocery list of things we can't easily find here for our trip to Louisiana later this month...