Red Beans -N- Rice

I first put this recipe on public display the day before all of America’s precious natural resource won the Superbowl. Hope you knew the Saints were going to win like I did. Please note for those interested I actually did a play-by-play of Terry Porter’s interception from Peyton Manning to seal the deal the Sunday Morning of the game. I have a witness. It also proves I’m a prophet (just joking). However, I did a great job foretelling correctly (mostly) all the reasons why the Saints were going to win. And that was why I….I’m sorry….What? You’re not here to hear about the Saints, you just came for the recipe? Well excuse me! (Perhaps old grumpity pants needs to recalibrate her priorities…Shelly). Okay, okay. Here you go.

Israel’s Famous Red Beans n Rice. Please note that my spices and herbs are done by sight so it is something I don’t have amounts for but I can give you a couple of pointers to figure it out!

Start of by making a roux and burning it – now you know how the Colts will feel! ;-) Ha, ha. Gotcha! Don’t worry, I still love Peyton. He did win the Superbowl for us after all. LOL. Having too much fun now. Sorry (He actually is my favorite player in the NFL and no, it has nothing with us going to church together as kids – okay, it does).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Red Beans, dry – do not get the canned stuff. If you do then forget about it. Just go to McDonald’s.
  • 1 Large or 2 Medium or 3 small white onions, chopped.
  • 1 Green Pepper, chopped.
  • 5 Celery Ribs, chopped.
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 2 smoked ham hock
  • 4 Bacon strips and half the grease from cooking a whole batch of bacon.
  • 2 large andouille sausages, thinly sliced. Half frozen makes this easy.
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme leaves, crushed.
  • 2 Bay leaves, if they are older then 3-4 leaves.
  • “gulps” of Tabasco sauce –  it is more than a dash. Also, don’t try any other type of pepper sauce. I’ve tried all of them in all sorts of ways. Only Tabasco works.
  • “dashes” of Worcestershire sauce. What I can tell you is TWICE the amount of Tabasco to the Worcestershire. I typically douse the Worcestershire sauce into the pot for around three seconds if that helps.
  • Tony Chachere’s – no other Cajun seasoning mixture is right. You can try your own balance of cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, etc., but why? Just buy this stuff.
  • Kosher Salt, 2 tble?

1. Soak beans overnight. Put some Tabasco sauce in the soaking water. Next day, rinse and boil in water for an hour. Again, add Tabasco and add some tony’s. Make sure there is plenty of water.  Drain and rinse the beans.
2. Cook the Trinity. I caramelize the onions first, then add the green peppers and celery until celery is tender. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
3. Throw everything in a big pot and cover with an additional two inches of water. Heat slowly and boil – watching and stirring semi-constantly. The more it boils down the more it will stick. Boil for 2-3 hours (3 is MUCH better than two. This is where the dish is made, don’t underestimate the time, but more on this later).
4. Sit in fridge over night.
5. Reheat slowly adding water if necessary. Taste and add more seasoning if appropriate.

Note: some peeps eat it with pork chops, others with whole sausage links so whatever suits you. Always have real corn bread cooked in an iron skillet on hand to enjoy with red beans n rice.

A final thought: More people request this recipe than all my other recipes combined (if I may brag – if not I’ll find a Catholic Church to confess in tomorrow morning. Just joking Martin Luther. Don’t roll over. Relax and await for glorification). Where was I? Oh, yes. People always ask for this recipe, but seemingly struggle to replicate its success in their own kitchen. They wonder why. Let me tell what I think. Part of it is that I don’t measure, but because of that and my love for spice people tend to underestimate the need for spices. My recommendation to you would be overestimate how much to put in when it comes to seasonings/spices and you’ll be better off. The second reason – and more important – in my mind has to do with how you view heat and how much you love the process of cooking. I remember someone once telling me that Red Beans and Rice is the easiest Cajun dish to cook – and that is why no one asks her for her recipe. If you want to be lazy you are better off going to McDonald’s for something like this. My point is that heat is violence. There are dishes where I like that violence, like when I’m sauteing onions or sear a steak. But there are times when it does serious harm than good. This dish is meant to be cooked with fresh red beans and they take time. If you try to shorten the process by raising the heat to high at ANY stage (including the first) you will ruin the beans and will not get the creaminess that is the overarching quality of my red beans that everybody pursues when trying to replicate them. How I know that I’ve reached that creaminess is that the bacon oil no longer separates if you let the pot sit, but becomes completely blended in the rest with the consistency of stew over a live flame. Once removed from the burner and allowing to sit overnight will impress upon you the value of its creamy deliciousness and you’ll understand why I’m such a nut about the particularities of this process.

Finally, Monday is the day to eat Red Beans so cook it Saturday.

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