Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe: Red Beans & Rice

(Originally posted for my daughter, thought I'd posted it here already but I can't find it... It is a family favorite. We don't make it authentic, please don't complain that it's not, I try to make it more Northwest style. It is usually too much for just us, but we like taking a big frozen chunk of it camping, especially at the beach.)


1 pound of dry red kidney beans

2 quarts of cold water

1 meaty ham bone or thick slice of raw ham, cut into cubes

1/2 pound hot sausage, thick sliced

1 bunch of scallions, including green tops

1 green pepper

2 stalks of celery

3 medium sized onions

Large pince of ground thyme

4 bay leaves

cayenne pepper or tabasco sauce

salt, pepper & white rice (not instant)

NOW: what I get: OK, the beans, the water. You can find a pound of ham cubed up at Wal*mart Supercenter for $2.50 it will save you some prep time. I have been using a roll of Jimmy Dean sausage instead of the hot. It does come hot, but last time it was too hot. Green onions, never have found scallions. If they are the same price you can try the colored peppers, they are sweeter, and make prettier batch of beans. You'll have to get a jar a peanut butter for the rest of the celery, cause two stalks is two STICKS. This last batch I used one giant onion because the bags all had moldy bulbs. Don't forget the thyme and BAY LEAVES. Salt and Tabasco sauce for pepper. I'll tell you how to make the rice too, hang in there.

Recipe says: Rinse Kidney beans twice discard any that look bad. (if you buy premium beans - none of them look bad.) Put beans in a big heavy pot at least 3 quarts (4 quarts is best). Add Water, ham & sausage. Set uncovered on a burner at medium heat. While the beans are soaking & warming, chop and add scallions, green peppers, celery and onions. Then add thyme and bay leaves.

When the mixture boils, reduce heat and cover. Stir every 20-30 minutes for 3 hours. Then, with a wooden spoon, mash about one-fourth of the beans against the side of the pot. If they don't mash easily, try again after an hour. (I don't own a wooden spoon yet, today and in the past I used a mixer. Once I tried a blender... don't recommend that!) Forty minutes after mashing the beans, taste and season with cayenne pepper or tabasco sauce. Don't use too much, this is supposed to be delicious but subtly flavored. (I just give Michael the tabasco sauce when we serve it up.) Cook for another half an hour, while preparing rice.

OK. NOW FOR YOUR MOM'S PERFECT RICE. Put the amount of water equal to the amount of cooked rice in you want in the saucepan. For example, if you want 4 cups of rice (enough for four people and seconds) four cups of water. I put a heaping tablespoon of butter and one cube of chicken boullion for each cup of water of water, plus one more cube. When the water is boilling, turn it down to simmer and stir in 1/2 cup of rice for each cup of water. Put the lid on and SET THE TIMER FOR 20 MINUTES. Do not check it or lift the lid for any reason till the timer goes off. When it does, your rice should be fluffy.

Back to Recipe: It's hard to believe, but all the vegetables cook away to nothing. The mashed beans thicken the sauce to a creamy consistency. It's even more flavorful rewarmed after a night in the refridgerator.

Mom says: Freeze some of it for later. Don't make too much rice so you have fresh rice every time you warm it up.

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