My Take on Red Beans & Rice

My take on Red Beans and Rice20170411-red-beans-and-rice-09

I recently set out to create my own perfect red beans and rice recipe. I succeeded in my endeavors on my very first try. I commonly cook red beans and rice, but I never measure anything out. This time I did, and the end result was a some of the best I’d ever made! Originally, this dish was only made with a ham bone, but I like mine with sausage and Tasso, as you will commonly find in today’s restaurants.

I also decided to do a little research, and this is what I found:
Red beans and rice is a dish commonly associated with Louisiana Creole cuisine, traditionally made on Mondays with pork bones left over from Sunday dinner. Ham was traditionally a Sunday meal and Mondays were washday. The pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. This dish is fairly common throughout Louisiana and the Southeast. In fact, most restaurants in New Orleans and throughout the state serve this staple. Many neighborhood restaurants continue to offer it as their Monday lunch special, usually served with a side order of either smoked sausage or pork chops (even though Monday washdays are pretty much a thing of the past!). Red beans and rice still remain a choice dish for large gatherings such as Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, trail rides and so on. Indeed, red beans and rice are very much part of our Louisiana identity.

Ingredients

1 lb. dried kidney beans
1 whole smoked ham hock
1/2 cup Tasso (chopped into small pieces)
1/2 lb. smoked sausage (sliced into bite-sized pieces)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 sweet onions (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning, or to your taste
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 cup green onion tops for garnishing

Directions

In a large pot, soak beans overnight in enough water to cover them completely. Drain and rinse. In a deep pot, brown sliced sausage and Tasso, stirring with a wooden spoon until desired golden color starts to show on edges, or about 10 minutes, over a medium to high heat. With a slotted spoon remove and reserve in a large bowl. In the same pot over a medium heat add the oil, flour, onions, green pepper and garlic. Stir frequently and cook until it is light brown. Add the sausage and Tasso back to the pot along with the whole smoked ham hock and the rinsed and drained beans. Add enough water to cover the beans by about an inch above them. Season with Creole seasoning, coarse ground black pepper and the bay leaves. Cook slowly on low heat until beans are tender (about an hour and a half), stirring often and adding water as needed. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with green onions.

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