Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Nothing says Monday in New Orleans like Red Beans & Rice. This traditional staple started as a dish to use up Sunday’s leftover ham bone that didn’t take watching and could cook unattended for the better part of a day while the washing was done. Well, Monday may not necessarily be “wash day” anymore, but it does mean the weekend is behind us and it’s time to get down working again. So what better way to start the week than a smoky, spicy, plate of goodness from The Big Easy!

Our version of RB&R has a smokier flavor than most and with addition of bacon and sausage and it doesn’t take all day to cook, although you can start on the stovetop and finish in a slow cooker with excellent results. And yes Annelle, it “freezes beautifully”, if you have any leftovers that is!

Red Beans and Rice
Serves: 8     Total Time: 4 Hours


• 1 Pound Small Red Beans – Dried
• ½ Pound Andouille Sausage, Cut in ¼” slices
• ½ Pound Thick Cut Smoky Bacon, Diced
• 2 Large Onions – Rough Chopped
• 6 Stalks Celery - Rough Chopped
• 1 Green Pepper – Seeded and Chopped
• 1 Jalapeno Pepper – Seeded and Chopped Fine
• 1 Pound Smoked Ham Hocks
• 8 Cloves Garlic – Minced
• 2 Bay Leaves
• 2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
• 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
• 6 Tablespoons Sweet (Unsalted) Butter
• 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
• 1 Teaspoon Tabasco
• 8 Cups Cooked White Rice
• 1 Jalapeno Pepper – Thinly sliced into coins for Garnish
• 2 or 3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Rinse and then soak the Red Beans overnight.

Step 2. Drain and rinse again – discarding the soaking water.

Step 3. Heat a 6 or 7 quart Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, add Andouille and sauté for 4 or 5 minutes, just to brown slightly and begin to release some fat. Remove to a dish and set aside, leaving any accumulated fat in the pot.

Step 4. Add the Bacon to the pot and cook until beginning to crisp, remove to same dish as the sausage and leave fat in pot.

Step 5. Add the Onion, Celery, Peppers and sauté for 4 minutes, and Garlic and sauté for one minute more. Then return the sausage and bacon to the pot and stir to combine

Step 6. Add the Red Beans, Ham Hocks, Bay Leaves, Thyme, Salt and enough water to cover all the ingredients by about ½ inch.

Red Beans and Rice
Ham Hocks, Andouille Sausage, and Bacon give this dish a great smokey flavor

Step 7. Bring to boil over high heat, stir to combine and release all of the browned bits at the bottom of the pot and reduce heat to simmer for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally to keep beans from sticking. Add water, if needed, to maintain the liquid level just at the top of the contents of the pot.

Step 8. After the initial cooking time, gently stir in Butter, Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco. Then cover and continue to simmer for 1 additional hour.

Step 9. Start preparing your White Rice and while that is cooking finish the Red Beans.

Step 10. Turn off heat and discard the Bay Leaves and Thyme stems. Remove the Ham Hocks and trim, separating the meat from the fat and bones. Discard fat and bones, mince the trimmed meat and stir it back in to the pot. Taste and correct seasoning with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper. Cover and allow to rest a few minutes before serving.

Step 11. Serve with a mound White Rice in the center of the plate, ladle the Red Beans evenly all around the Rice and garnish the Rice with a few slices of Jalapeno and a few sprigs of Thyme.

Tips and Trending

~ Dried Red Beans will provide the best consistency when soaked and cooked as above – but in a pinch you can follow the usual “quick soak” method: rinse and sort the dried beans, place the beans in a pot with 6 to 8 cups of hot water and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and allow to rest for 1 hour. Drain, rinse again and proceed with recipe. You can also substitute four 15 ounce cans of Red Beans drained and washed completely of all of the can liquids. (Just because you can make this substitution doesn’t mean you should!)

~ To adjust this recipe for use in a slow cooker, simply cook the sausage, bacon and vegetables as directed here using a large sauté pan on the stove top. Then transfer everything to your slow cooker. Give it about 10 hours on low or 6 on high. We’re assuming that you’ve got some experience with slow cooking and know all about reducing the amount of liquids, keeping the cover on and all that.

~ We use a single Jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed in this recipe. If you prefer a spicier version, by all means substitute your favorite little Capsaicin carrier or simply leave the seeds in the Jalapeno intact.

~ When cooking with any hot variety of peppers, such as the Jalapeno in this recipe, always wash your hands and any knives and cutting surfaces after preparing the peppers. Never touch your face or other items until you’ve washed everything to avoid burning yourself and transferring the pepper’s heat to other food items.

~ Occasionally we will suggest a specific variety or brand name of an ingredient – in this case the hot sauce used is Tabasco brand for its specific and identifiable tangy flavor. Again, if you’re not a fan of this brand, use whichever brand you prefer.

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