Reporting Fran Lane
Mmmm…I love red beans and rice! Red beans and rice is a Creole dish that traditionally is made on Mondays. It is an old custom that began when ham was the regular Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans would sit on the stove simmering while the women were busy washing clothes. Here’s my husbands’ recipe.
1 pound dried small red beans / 2 tablespoons vegetable oil / 1 cup finely chopped green onions, including tops / 1 cup finely chopped onions / 1/2 cup chopped celery / 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers / 1 habanero pepper, finely chopped (can substitute with 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper or to taste) / 2 bay leaves / 2 tbs chopped garlic / 1 pound or 1 large smoked ham hock / 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced / 1 tsp salt / 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper and a dash of red pepper / 1 tsp cumin / 9 cups water or chicken stock / 4 cups cooked white rice / parsley or chopped green onions for garnish
Prepare the beans the night before. Rinse and pick through beans to remove any foreign objects. Put in a large pot and cover by a couple of inches of water and cover the pot over night. / In a large saucepan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and habanero pepper to the saucepan. Sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables start to wilt. Add the bay leaves, ham hocks, sausage, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, garlic, salt, ground pepper, and water or stock. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hours, uncovered, stirring often. Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. Use a wooden spoon to mash 1/4 of the mixture. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, or until the beans are tender and creamy. Add more liquid if it is too thick. The mixture should be soupy, but not watery. Remove the bay leaves. To serve, ladle into bowls over rice. Garnish with parsley or green onions.