Sunday, August 01, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

This was my first attempt making this classic Cajun dish all by myself. It turned out spicy and full of flavor, as expected. Not bad for the maiden voyage, eh? (And yes, I did just refer to cooking in nautical terms.)

Red Beans and Rice
(adapted from Emeril's recipe)

1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (Tony Chacere's or Slap Ya Mama)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock, or water
4 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions, garnish

  1. Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the oil in the pot. Season with the pepper and Cajun seasoning, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. 
  3. Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and sausage, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.)
  5. Remove from the heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.
  6. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours Yields: 8 servings

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