Monday, December 8, 2014

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

This is one of the quintessential New Orleans dishes, right up there along with gumbo and jambalaya.  It is a New Orleans tradition to eat this dish on Mondays.  You can easily leave out the meat and make this dish vegetarian since the beans pack a bunch of protein, but the meat adds so much flavor so I always include it.  This recipe is more of a method than strict instructions.  Red beans are versatile, you can use whatever meat (or meat bones) you have lying around.  You can also use up extra veggies (peppers, onions, celery) and even throw in any homemade stock.  I almost always soak the beans overnight the night before I plan to make this dish, but you could skip that step and increase the cooking time.  Don't forget to serve with French bread for dipping and hot sauce for topping.

-1 lb red beans, rinsed, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed again
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 bell pepper, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 lb smoked andouille sausage, sliced (I like the spicy Cajun variety)
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp cayenne peper
-1 tsp dried thyme
-2 bay leaves
-2 Tbsp hot sauce
-6-8 c water
-cooked rice

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.  saute onion and bell pepper until soft (5-10 minutes).  Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute, stirring constantly.  Add sausage and cook 5 additional minutes.  Add beans and fill with water until the beans are just barely covered.  Add salt- hot sauce and stir.  Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on medium low for 1- 1.5 hrs, stirring every 10 minutes (or so).  If beans become too dry add more water while cooking... I like them pretty thick and not soupy, but that's just personal preference.  Once bean are desired tenderness remove from heat, taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve over rice, with parsley or scallions for garnish, hot sauce and Tony's seasoning for sprinkling, and French bread for dipping.

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