I’m very particular about my red beans and rice when I cook it. It’s one of my judgment recipes. Tiramisu is my judgment recipe/dish for Italian restaurants and cookbooks. You are only as good as your tiramisu. For Cajun restaurants, Creole restaurants, cookbooks, and Louisiana cooks, you are only as good as your red beans and rice. I like my mom’s and sister’s red beans and rice; I can’t reproduce them (I’ve tried and failed miserably a few times), but I love them.
I once found a diner on LA Highway 1 (truly a great journey to take from Rodessa where the road ends/begins to Grand Isle where the road ends/begins) that looked truly like a dining car. I don’t know if it’s still there, but one of the daily specials was fried chicken and red beans and rice. I felt like I was visiting royalty because I had always had red beans and rice as an entree, so I felt that I was being presented a plate full of the goodness of two entrees. And…it was so…so…so very worth it.
I started with one of Emeril Legasse’s red beans and rice recipes that I found at the-site-formerly-known-as-Recipezaar (Food.com). I’ve since tweaked it a bit (made it a bit more pantry friendly, as opposed to produce aisle friendly). It works well as a slow cooker recipe, as well, but the sauce mixture doesn’t easily get as creamy.
This recipe is definitely Muffin Approved. Recently, he ate all of his bowl and asked for seconds. And ate the seconds.
My mom serves it in this ketchup and Worcestershire sauce mix that is out of this world and tops it with raw onions. (If you have read Summary Sunday for 2/23, you know that Muffin does not like onions much. Well, this recipe has a lot of onion in it, and he gobbled it down.)
Red Beans and Rice
Adapted from Emeril Legasse
1 pound red beans (rinsed, picked over, soaked in water two inches above the top of the beans for 8-12 hours and drained)
1 tablespoon bacon grease
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shredded ham (I used the ham Josh smoked)–not shaved deli ham
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 bay leaves
9 ounces smoked sausage, diced finely
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 ham bone (again from the ham Josh smoked) with lots of meat still on it
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
10 cups water
7 chicken bouillon cubes
cooked white rice
In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat the grease and oil over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the grease in the pot. Season with the pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, parsley, garlic powder, thyme, sausage, and ham bone, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, add the bouillon cubes, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender.
Remove the ham bone and the bay leaves and allow to cool for a few minutes. With the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Shred the ham off of the ham bone and add to the pot, stirring to combine. Continue to cook the sauce thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Serve over rice and top with ketchup (cut with Worcestershire) and/or diced onions. Or, as I do, sprinkle with Creole seasoning to taste.