Sunday, April 26, 2009

Red Beans and Rice

I think Geoff would eat cajun food every day of his life if he had his way. I love it, too and it's so incredibly easy to make I feel like a wizard every time I whip up a jambalaya or gumbo and especially last night when I made Red Beans and Rice.

Pretty much every recipe for Cajun food involves the trinity of: 1 white onion, 2 green bell peppers and 3 stalks of celery. That's the beginning of gumbo, jambalaya, etoufee, etc. Adding tomatoes and/or okra is sometimes an option as well (I might add tomatoes next time I make these beans, but they certainly don't need it).

I had a ham bone in the freezer leftover from a ham I cooked about a month ago, but chicken stock would work fine OR you could just dice up some andouille sausage (MMMMM) and add that to the sauteeing veggies and then use plain water to cook the beans. It's your call.

Red Beans and Rice


1 ham bone, boiled in enough water to cover (at least 8 cups), for approximately 2 - 3 hours

1 16 oz. bag small red beans (or kidney beans if you can't find small red beans)
2 - 3 T. oil (or bacon grease if you have some handy)
1 white onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
3 stalks of celery (with leaves), chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (*optional)
4 - 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 - 5 bay leaves
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Sautee onion, bell peppers, celery and jalapeno (if using) for a few minutes over high heat until soft. Add garlic, bay leaves and thyme and saute a few minutes longer until onions get a little bit blackened.

Add 8 cups stock (or water), Worcestershire, beans and salt and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 - 3 hours until beans are nice and soft.

Add additional liquid if the beans look to "dry" -- they should be "saucey". When they're done, mash them a little with a potato masher (not all of them, just some).

If there's any meat left on the hambone, chop it up and serve on the side so everyone can put as much meat on top as they'd like.

Serve the beans on top of steamed, long-grain rice with chopped green onion, flat-leaf parsley and thyme to garnish as well as plenty of Louisiana style hot sauce (Trappey's, Red Rooster, etc.) to slather over the top. I also like extra Worcestershire on top.

You could make some cornbread to serve on the side ... or toasted and buttered French bread, which is what we did.

Like almost all bean recipes, this stuff is even better the next day.

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