Friday, September 28, 2007

Red Beans and Rice

The ingredients of this traditional Cajun specialty are simple but full of flavor. I got this recipe from Louis Armstrong's mother.

Red Beans and Rice

1 lb dried red beans

6-8 cups water
1 lb sausage or ham, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
Louisiana hot sauce
1 cup brown rice

Rinse and sort the beans. Put them in a large pot and add water. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Separate the beans and soak water. Set both aside. In the big pot, brown sausage or ham. Remove meat, set aside. In the drippings, scrape up the burnt pieces from the bottom of the pan. Saute onion, celery, and bell pepper for about 12 minutes. Add meat and cook 5 more minutes. Add beans, stirring and folding mixture together for a few minutes. It should smell real good right about now. Add seasonings to taste: garlic, cayenne, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and salt are necessary. Worcestershire, liquid smoke, and parsley are optional. Be conservative with the seasonings at this point. Add bean liquor, cover, and let it simmer gently for about 2 1/2 hours. Stir it often and take off the lid if it seems too watery. When the beans are cooked soft and the water has reduced to gravy, perfect your seasonings.

Meanwhile, bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat to low and add brown rice. Don't let it get too hot or it will burn to the bottom to the pot. Let sit covered 45 minutes, stirring now and then, until rice is soft and water is absorbed. You don't have to season the rice at all because the beans will usually be seasoned enough for both.

Serve beans over rice with Cornbread.

Mix leftover beans with leftover rice. Spoon into large flour tortilla shells with some cheese. Wrap them up burrito-style and freeze them for dinners on busy nights.

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