Monday, May 4, 2009

Homemade Southern Red Beans and Rice

Homemade red kidney beans made with dried beans, and slow stewed with the Trinity, bacon, smoked sausage and a good ham bone or ham hock if you have one, served over hot rice with fresh French bread.
Homemade red kidney beans made with dried beans, and slow stewed with the Trinity, bacon, smoked sausage and a good ham bone or ham hock if you have one, served over hot rice with fresh French bread.

Homemade Southern Red Beans and Rice

Monday. Wash Day. Red Beans and Rice day.

Back in the day at least, that was the way that it was, and the tradition of eating red beans & rice on Mondays, either for lunch or dinner, carries on down here in the south, even if nobody’s doin’ laundry.

For the homemaker who did not know the modern conveniences we have today, every day had its own task. Thursday was the day for grocery shopping, Saturdays were often spent doing the baking, and laundry was almost universally done on Mondays back then. As a physically grueling job, with hand wringin' and basket haulin' and hangin' everything outside to dry, and no man around to borrow muscle strength from, this duty most suited Mondays because after a day of rest on Sunday, the physical strength would definitely be needed. We sure have it made these days I tell ya!

Sunday supper was generally one that could be placed in the oven to slow cook while the family was at church, and very often down south, that would be a large ham that could also be used for multiple meals. That ham bone would become the central seasoning ingredient for a pot of red beans and rice, a dish that could slow simmer on the stovetop for hours with little monitoring but for an occasional stir, perfect for wash day. These days that could be ham, or maybe even smoked sausage, bacon or any combination of the three.

Down here in The Deep South, the premium dried beans for any pot of red beans and rice are, in my opinion, Camellia brand beans. I can't imagine not using Camellia brand, at least not in this part of the country, and while you can even order them online directly from the company website, if you don't have them, don't fret over it. Just use what you got! A lot of people think there is no difference in brands or generics but I have to disagree. Camellia brand beans are always consistently creamy and they just cook up better. I can tell the difference.

And while we are here...

Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning: I had a situation fall under a "discussion" on my Facebook page about classic Louisiana (or Mississippi for that matter) red beans and rice. A gal had found a recipe from a blogger that was called Louisiana red beans and rice, but they were using the tiny red beans, more popular in Texas, and not the classic red kidney beans. Those tiny red beans are smaller, round in shape and have a totally different flavor profile from red kidney beans, but she was sure set to argue with me about the proper bean for our traditional red beans and rice. I love bloggers, but they make a lot of mistakes, and a lot of assumptions, about regional dishes that they don't really know much about, and they publish misleading and just downright wrong information. If they would just do a little real research into other bloggers from those regions, they'd understand the mistake and not pass off bad information. Don't even get me started on po'boys!

Now I'm one to say often make what you want, the way that you want because it's your kitchen. But, this is what is a bit annoying about hijacking the name of a recipe, and publishing it on the internet, because one thinks it is similar enough. In this case, it's misleading to folks who are actually looking for a more classic Louisiana red beans and rice recipe, but are getting a dish that no doubt is a good one, but is not traditional to our region and shouldn't have the terms Cajun or Louisiana attached to it. {tucking away the soapbox}

These days home cooks are more likely to prepare a pot of homemade red beans and rice on Sunday, when time is more at leisure, and have the leftovers on Monday. Truth is, that's perfectly fine, and maybe even better because a pot of cooked red beans, like a good gumbo or chili, will only improve over time, so leftovers are actually even better. Before you refrigerate them though, stir in a little extra stock or water because they will thicken substantially overnight. Adding extra liquid when heating them up will work, but it will also dilute the flavor, so add it in before you refrigerate them. The heat level will intensify as well as they sit, so do keep that in mind if you are cooking these a day ahead.

While I did my laundry over the weekend and only finished it up this morning {and have the sore muscles today to prove it} well, today seemed just perfect for a pot of good ole red beans and rice. Scoop the beans over hot, cooked rice and serve with hot buttered French bread, or pistolette yeast rolls or better yet, a big honking slice of hot buttered southern style skillet cornbread - cooked in a greased up screamin' hot cast iron skillet, so the bottom is all full of crunchy yumminess. I'm telling ya, this is some delicious goodness. Add a slice of pound cake for dessert and enjoy!

If you have a hankering for some red beans and rice but don't have the time to do the dried beans, check out that shortcut version I told you about - it's a pretty darned good, speedy substitute that really does taste like you cooked 'em all day, I promise! My recipe for skillet red beans and rice is a little different variety, but it's also very good. Be sure to check it out too!

Here's how to make my Homemade Red Beans and Rice.

I use the speed cook method for my beans most of the time, mostly because I can never remember to soak them the night before. Rinse and sort beans and place into a deep pot, adding water to cover beans plus about an inch or so. Do not add any seasonings or salt! Bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes uncovered, turn off heat, cover and let soak for one hour. Drain and set aside in a large pot.


In a separate skillet, cook the bacon until lightly cooked and still limp. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to the bacon and sauté the veggies until tender. Add the garlic, black and red pepper, basil and bay leaf into the vegetable mixture and let seasoning meld with the veggies for about 3 minutes, stirring. Transfer to the pot of beans.


Meanwhile slice sausage - you can slice them in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch or just cut them into larger chunks, as pictured below. Add oil to skillet you used for the veggies and lightly brown the sausage. Transfer to the bean pot.


If you have any leftover ham chunks, cut those up too, brown them and add them in. If you have a ham hock or two, or a ham bone, throw that in too. Add 2 quarts of fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cooked uncovered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.


You'll want to cook them until they transform from soup, to a creamy pot of beans that are tender and slightly thickened. If you need to thicken them up more, just remove about a cup of the beans and mash them with a fork, returning them to the pot. Serve over hot, cooked rice and garnish with sliced green onion, if desired. Pass hot sauce at the table. I served these below over rice, with a pork chop, seasoned with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning and pan seared in a little olive oil and Southern style green beans and cornbread on the side.

Homemade red kidney beans served over hot rice and shown here with a pan seared pork chop and Southern green beans. Heavenly.

For more of my favorite recipes for beans and southern peas, visit my page on Pinterest!



If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!





Yum

Recipe: Mary's Homemade Southern Red Beans and Rice

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 2 hours | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 pound of dried, red kidney beans (Camellia brand preferred)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 package (12-14 oz.) andouille or regular smoked sausage
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic, minced
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • 1 large meaty ham bone or two meaty ham hocks
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or bacon drippings, optional
  • Kosher salt to taste, only if needed
  • Hot, cooked rice
  • Sliced green onion, for garnish, optional
  • Hot sauce, for the table
Instructions:

Rinse and sort beans and place into a deep pot, adding water to cover beans plus an inch. Soak overnight or bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes uncovered, turn off heat, cover and let soak for one hour. Drain and set aside.

Heat cooking oil in the pot. Cut sausage into 1-inch chunks and add to oil, cooking until browned; remove and set aside. Add bacon and cook until fat is rendered. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté the veggies until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, black and red pepper, basil and bay leaf to the vegetable mixture and continue cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring. Add the ham bone or hocks, beans and sausage, and the 2 quarts of fresh water.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until beans are tender and slightly thickened. For extra richness, stir in the butter when beans are finished. Remove bay leaves and discard. Remove bone or hocks and pick off any meat, returning to the pot. Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding salt only if needed. Serve over hot, cooked rice and garnish with sliced green onion, if desired. Pass hot sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: Do not add any salt until the end, and then only if it needs it. There is some salt present from all the meats involved, so taste and adjust your seasonings toward the end of cooking, adding salt here if needed. I very often find that the pot needs no additional salt at all. Taste, add salt if needed, taste again and adjust seasoning as needed. If you need to thicken beans further, remove about a cup of the beans and mash them with a fork, returning them to the pot. For added richness and color, add a splash of Kitchen Bouquet at the end of cooking time. If your ham bone or hocks are not very meaty, you may add some chopped smoked ham.

Meatless Monday Vegetarian Beans: To make red beans meat-free, you'll need to bump up the flavor a bit! Once beans have been soaked, substitute a low-sodium vegetable broth for the 2 quarts of water, use a full tablespoon of minced garlic, increase the dried herbs to 3 teaspoons, using a mixture such as basil, thyme and oregano, use large bay leaves, and add 2 teaspoons of Liquid Smoke.

Ground Beef Red Beans and Rice: Prepare as above, except omit bacon and/or ham bone or pork hocks, if desired. Add one pound of cooked and drained ground beef and 1/4 to 1/2 pound of diced andouille. I also like to add 1-1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning for the cayenne. Finish as above with butter or bacon drippings for additional richness.

For the slow cooker version, click here.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on May 4, 2009

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