Friday, January 24, 2014

Plantation-Style Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. dry red kidney beans
1 Tbsp. oil
1 onion
1 bell pepper
1 clove garlic
1 - 2 stalks of celery
Water to fill near top of pot
Bay leaves
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper
1 Tbsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning
Choice of meat for seasoning - Ham, ham bone, salt pork or smoke sausage

2 cups rice
1 Tbsp. butter
4 cups water

Wash red beans and soak.  If I don't soak mine, I cook them a few hours.  If soaked, they'll cook quicker.  Wash and cut seasonings.  Brown or saute seasonings to taste, including the ones you enjoy and leaving out the ones you may not like.  If using smoke sausage, you may brown it with the seasonings.

Pour seasonings into pot with beans.  Add meat.  Let come to a boil and then simmer until done.  I recommend cooking at least two hours.  A ham bone provides the best flavoring in my opinion.
You may turn the fire to low and let the beans simmer or just keep warm after two hours.  You can also cook using a crock pot, but you should put them on very early in the morning and let them slow cook all day.  If cooking on the top of a stove, you will need to continually add water to them as it cooks out until they are nearly done.  Then, let them cook down so the gravy is thick and red.

Boil rice about thirty minutes before serving time.  Let two cups of rice, four cups of water and 1 Tbsp. of butter come to a boil, turn to low and let the water cook out of the rice.

Comment:  This recipe was sent to me by one of the Author's I write reviews for.  I had never tried Red Beans & Rice but it did sound pretty good so I gave it a try.  I followed her recipe pretty much to the letter but did leave out the Cayenne and parsley.  I'm really glad I didn't add the cayenne because I ended up with enough heat form the Cajun seasoning.  I also used brown rice boiling bags instead of cooking the long cook type.  For my meat I used smoked sausage since that was what I had on hand.   Anyway, this dish is simply delicious! I served it with slaw giving me a simple yet tasty meal.   It fed 6 easily with just a little left over.  

B. J. Robinson, Author of River Oaks Plantation:  Historically - in New Orleans, red beans and rice were always served on Mondays because Monday was wash day and the dish could simmer for hours.  When I grew up with a mom who cooked Red Beans and Rice and later a mother-in-law who is the one who taught me to cook them.  She is also the one who gave me the recipe at the end of my book for the cornbread dressing.    So as you can see, I was reared on them and reared my children on them actually using both my mother and mother-in-law's recipes.  They both cook the same way with one exception.  My Mom didn't add the bay leaf, whereas my mother-in-law did. 

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