Red Beans and Rice
Well it’s Friday!! You know what that means? FUN CAJUN FIRDAY series kicks off! I posted a little teaser recipe a few days ago because I just couldn’t wait to get started but today it officially begins. I decided to start off with Red Beans and Rice…a New Orleans tradition. If you read my About Me page, you know my husband is from New Orleans and I absolutely love it there. We still have great friends and family that we visit often. It’s a sad week for the city this week. Isaac hit a few days ago and a good portion of several parishes are under water…AGAIN. Thankfully my mother-in-love’s house was spared once again. Anyway, Red Beans and Rice. Did you know Red Beans and Rice are a Monday tradition? Well, do you know why? I’ll tell you. In the older days families had a sit down dinner on Sunday’s which was a big meal. Monday was always a laundry day for the women who kept the homes so they would use the left over pork bones and add the red beans and other ingredients letting it simmer on the stove all day while they worked on the laundry. Such great multi-taskers they were! The recipe is fairly simple and the reward is amazing. I like to double the recipe and put half (IF I have it left over) in the freezer for another meal. That’s me being a multi-tasker.
- 1 lb red kidney beans
- 1 package smoked sausage (I use the low fat turkey sausage and I promise you cannot tell any difference…neither can the Husbee!)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 large bell peppers
- 3-4 stalks celery
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ham hock (believe it or not you can find them in the meat section of your grocery store)
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon or more red pepper (Cayenne)
- 2 quartes water
- shredded cheese (optional)
- tabasco or hot pepper sauce (optional)
So let’s get moving with the recipe. You can do this one of two ways. You can buy dried red kidney beans or buy canned beans. If you buy dried beans, which I do, you will need to rinse, pick for any debris and cover with warm water for at least 24 hours. I change my water 3 to 4 times during the process. The water of course gets cold which is fine. Just put warm water back in when you change it out. If you use canned red beans then skip this step. My mother-in-love uses Blue Runner beans and they’re perfect.
Once they are soaked and plumped, drain the water and set aside.
Next I take the smoked sausage and cut it in small bite size pieces (you can use any variety you like) and brown the pieces. I think this just brings out the flavor more. I use the same pot to brown that I am going to cook the beans in as well.
Set aside the sausage to be added back later and move on to the other ingredients.
Add the oil to your pot and heat over medium high. Throw in your onion, bell pepper, celery, Cayenne, black pepper and salt and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add the ham hock, bay leaves, water and beans to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue to simmer about another hour until you find the consistency you like. You can always mash with a fork if you want. Add your browned sausage near the end. It only needs to warm. Remove bay leaves and pur over rice. I top mine with a small amount of shredded cheese. It just adds a little small something but doesn’t change the flavor. Also, some people like to top it off with Tabasco if you want more heat. Enjoy!!!
I’m excited for you to try it! Let me know how it goes!!