After last week's Fat Tuesday post I felt inspired to cook more Cajun food....unfortunately the one dish I was craving took much longer to make (hour wise) than I typically have time for during the work week. So starting Saturday (bean soaking day) I began the long process of preparing Red Beans and Rice, ok so I'm being a tad bit dramatic since all I had to do was put some beans, salt and water together and let them sit over night...but it still counts as prep! Sunday afternoon I started some tasty bits a stewing and by Sunday evening I had Red Beans and Rice...
Red Beans & Rice
1 Chopped Onion, Large
1 Chopped Green Bell Pepper, Large
5 Ribs Chopped Celery
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Salt (to make brine for the beans to soak in)
1/2 Tsp Cayenne
1/4 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Dried Thyme Leaves
4 Bay Leaves
1 Ham Hock (preferrably with some bits of ham too)
1 LB Smoked Sausage, Sliced into 1/4 Rounds
1 LB Dried Red Beans
3 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
2 Cups Steamed Rice
1. On the day before you plan to make the dish, mix up the 1/2 cup salt and enough water to cover the beans, sort the beans (taking care to make sure you only soak beans, and don't have stray objects in the bag!), then place them in the brine and soak overnight.
2. After the overnight soak, rinse the beans off and set aside.
3. Heat some oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper, celery, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper and thyme for 5-6 minutes. Add the bay leaves, ham and sausage and saute for another 5-6 minutes.
4. Add the beans, garlic and enough water to cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered (stirring occasionally) for 2-2.5 hours. Add more water if mixture becomes thick and dry.
5. Using a wooden spoon, mash about half the mixture against the side of the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft.
6. Remove bay leaves and serve over steamed rice.
This dish was quite the hit with the crowd who assembled here (by crowd I should be clear, there were only four of us)....seconds were had by many and I'm enjoying the left overs! If this dish was quicker I'd make it weekly but unfortunately it will have to stay as a treat for the occasional weekend.
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