The pickle man

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Not-Really-a-Snow Day Comfort Food, Part 3 - Red Beans and Rice

So once again this week, we had cold wet rain that fell from the sky and only turned into snow for about 5 minutes... long enough for a very little to collect on top of patio furniture. 

Dixon said "It's not snowing.  It's mudding." 

But we got out of school again, because our town has no way to deal with snow, so they fear for school buses and icy overpasses.  

They should fear for children trapped in the house for days with restless mothers.  

Especially since children don't see the appeal of going outside to play in the... cold, wet, mud.  (Warm mud, on the other hand, has endless appeal for my four year old).  

So this is what I did when we get out of school because of the fear of snow.

First, I soaked 2 lbs of dried red beans overnight - when they predicted snow.

Then I chopped up two yellow onions and two bell peppers.  If you don't like chopping, I recommend a food processor.  

Throw those in a stockpot with a little vegetable oil.  Add two ribs of celery, chopped.
My dad calls these three the "holy trinity" of Louisiana cooking.

I also added some garlic and red pepper. 

Cook these down until they're nice and soft (about 10-15 minutes). 

Meanwhile, chop up some sausage.
I like andouille, but any smoked sausage will do...
Chop it up...

And here is the secret... my friend Tommy taught me this... throw it in a skillet until it gets caramelized and delicious. 

You can do the same thing with your ham.

Then throw the meat and the beans in with the vegetables in the stock pot.

At first, it won't look quite so yummy...

But cook it for about 2 hours until it looks like this...

Serve it over rice

Or, if you have a "thing" about your food touching, serve the rice on the side and the beans in their own little cup... with a banana, if you are 4 :)

I doubled this... 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
Crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound cooked ham cut, into 1/2-inch cubes (plus bone, if available)
6 ounces smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (1 cup)
1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted through, soaked overnight and drained
8 to 10 cups water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, black pepper for about 10-15 minutes. In a separate skillet, saute the meat until it is caramelized.  Add the bay leaves and meat to the pot.   Add enough water to cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. Use a wooden spoon to mash about half of the mixture against the side pf the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft. Add more water if it becomes too thick. The mixture should be soupy but not watery. Remove the bay leaves and serve with steamed white rice.

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