Today is Monday which translates to red beans and rice. Camellia red beans and rice is a loved traditional ritual served in my Grandmothers house every Monday. In my head, red beans are simmering on the stove while we washed clothes. The kidney bean is a southern Louisiana staple, but it is also found in many other cultures and cuisines. For example, kidney beans are also used in a spicy Indian stew called rajma masala and in sweet Asian ice cream and habichuelas con dulce (sweet cream of beans).
RED BEANS AND RICE
1 pound red kidney beans, 2 smoked ham hocks, 1/2 pound smoked rope sausage, cut into 1/2 inch rings, 3 tablespoons bacon drippings, 5 garlic cloves, chopped, 1 cup yellow onions, chopped, 1/2 cup celery, chopped, 1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme, 1 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke, 2 bay leaves, 3 cups long-grain rice, cooked
Pour the beans into a bowl, pick through the beans to make sure there is no rubbish such as sticks and rocks in the beans. I must say I have never found any trash in Camellia beans; my Grandmothers says I have to check! Add enough water to cover the beans and 1 tablespoon of salt to the beans, set aside for at least 8 hours. Wash and clean the ham hock under warm water. Get out a large dutch oven add the ham hocks with enough water plus 3 fingers to over. Turn heat to medium, add the liquid smoke, cover the pot, and cook until the meat starts to fall off the bone. While the ham hock is cooking, get out a skillet add the bacon drippings bell pepper, onions, garlic cloves, and celery saute until the onions are translucent. Add the vegetables, cayenne, black pepper, bay leaves, and thyme to the ham hock pot. Drain and rinse the beans, add them to the pot of ham hocks. Add more water to cover everything in the pot, bring to a rapid boil, reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until the beans are fork tender. Add the sausage to a tray and broil until they start to brown and turn up on the edges, drain and add to the dutch oven, stir. Cook for another hour. It’s now time to taste and correct the seasonings if needed. Add a little more water turn the heat up high, start the beans to boiling. The reason you are boiling the beans is to cause them to burst or what we call creaming the beans. Creaming the beans create a gravy or a thickening to the liquid around the beans. If your beans do not cream, take out about 1/4 of the beans out the pot, add them to a bowl and mash them with a potato masher. Return to the pot and cook another 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve the beans over the rice, garnished with green onions and parsley.