This weekend, I went over to my former roommate’s home to try to teach him to make Red Beans and Rice. Why? Because it’s tasty, cheap and one of the easier things to cook. Even better, this is one dish that you don’t need all sorts of fancy Cajun ingredients. (That said, replacing or supplementing the ham with smoked pork Cajun sausage will make the dish taste better.) Recipe after the jump.
Red Beans and Rice
1 lb. of dried red/kidney beans
1 large yellow onion
1 green pepper
3 stalks of celery
5 cloves of garlic
1 ham steak (or two links of smoked pork sausage)
2 bay leaves
If you so choose, soak the beans overnight. You don’t have to but it makes things go a little faster.
Put beans in a pot and cover with water (water should be about an inch higher than the beans). Set to boiling.
While that’s going, chop up the yellow onions, green peppers, celery and garlic, and dice the ham or sausage. Note about the sausage. Never, EVER substitute italian sausage or kielbasa in this dish. It’ll just taste weird. If you can’t find Louisiana sausage, use ham.
In a separate pot, sautee the vegetable and ham mixture until green peppers are wilted and there’s some porky juices forming in the bottom of the pot. Now, cover this mixture with about a quart of water. In essense, you’re making a stock. Bring to a boil for about five minutes.
The beans aren’t going take any seasoning until they’re soft. If you water boils off, add more water until the beans are soft. Once they’re soft, let the plain water boil off a little and replace that with your stock.
Bring new mixture to a boil then let simmer until you have a thick, soupy mixture. At this point do the following:
Take a full cup of beans from the pot and mash them up real good. This will act as a gravy. Pour it back in the pot.
Chuck in the bay leaves.
Add salt, pepper and, if you want, a few sprinkles of hot sauce.
Let the water evaporate until you have a stew like consistency. Check your salt levels. You’ll want it to taste a little salty in the pot as the rice will suck up a lot of salt. Remove the bay leaves.
Clip in the green onions.
Serve over rice.