Friday, April 19, 2013

"Traditional Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage... My Recipe!"

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage...
A couple of days ago I mentioned making New Orleans style red beans and rice. A friend replied that I was one day late. Traditionally, beans are cooked on a Monday when the servant, housekeeper or wife washed clothes. 

It was a Tuesday when I decided to cook beans and rice.

Another friend ask me, facetiously, to FedEx him some. I told him that the best I could do is take a photograph of the dish before the family voraciously descended upon it. After posting this nice place setting on Facebook, a few friends requested my recipe, so here it goes.

Soak overnight a one pound bag of red kidney beans by filling the pot with water about one inch from the top of the beans. When you awake, the beans will have soaked up most of the water. Do this especially if you are gonna slow cook it in a crockpot!

The beans usually cook in a regular pot within five or six hours, so the sooner you start, the sooner you can eat!

Chop one medium onion, fine and three large stalks of celery with the leaves, if possible and chop fine about three cloves of garlic. Throw all of this together in a pot of boiling water with the beans for about five minutes and then turn down the heat to about simmer, or on my stove, where the dial sets at 10 o'clock. Make sure the water level is always just above the beans. While you are in a chopping mode, you can chop either fresh parsley or cilantro. Traditionally, it is parsley, but I sometimes use cilantro to change the taste a bit.

Then, as the beans are cooking, add about one table spoon of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch or two of cayenne pepper and two bay leaves. I wait until about five minutes before I serve it to add sea salt. Adding salt earlier just makes the beans tough!

Then, go about your daily chores or if you crockpotted it, leave for work and return home in the evening to do this. If you are at home, you can occasionally stir the pot and make sure the water level is just above the beans. If in a crockpot the water level usually stays high, especially if you had soaked them the night before. In the fifth or sixth hour, you can start to mash the beans to help create a thick bean texture or soup which is why, besides having it burn,  you wanna maintain the water level. You accomplish that by using the back of a large spoon ( I have a favorite wooden spoon for the job! ) and start crushing the beans up against the sides of the pot. You don't have to crush all of the beans... just enough to create that soupy texture.

I use brown rice because it is healthier, but traditionally white rice is used. White rice
doesn't take as long to cook as brown rice, but while either version is cooking, you can cut and add your favorite piece of meat.

Traditionally, when feeding a large family, or just a few Cajuns, a ham bone is used and it is added as soon as the beans are cooking, but I find with this recipe, the meat should be added just about ten or twenty minutes before serving... long enough for the rice to cook. With this recipe, I used a small ham steak cubed with one and a half andouille sausage, sliced. If I'm using hot Italian sausage, or any other pork product, I normally cook it separately to get rid of the fat content, but again, traditionally, New Orleanians feel the fat adds to the taste and they just add it to the beans as is. 

I feel adding any meat to the beans earlier than that adds to the sauce, but dries out the meat and makes it rubbery or tough.

When the beans are soft and the bean sauce texture is creamy, you are ready to serve it over rice. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and have at it...

Bon Appetit...

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III

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