My Grandma Emma cooked red beans and rice every Monday. Monday was wash day, and she would put on a pot of beans and start washing clothes. On Monday, her attention and energy focused on cleaning the house after a big family Sunday dinner and washing clothes. Do you have any traditions attached to a day of the week and food?
RED BEANS AND RICE
1 pound red kidney beans, 1 large smoked ham hocks, 1/4 pound smoked pickled pork, 1/2 pound andouille smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch rings, 3 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings, 2 tablespoons lard, 5 garlic cloves, chopped, 1 large white onion, chopped, 2 green onions, chopped, 2 celery stalkes, chopped, 2 tablespoons bell pepper, chopped, 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon ground thyme, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 2 teaspoons liquid smoke, 2 bay leaves, 5 cups long-grain rice, cooked
Pour the beans into a bowl, add enough water to cover the beans plus 3 fingers. While the beans are soaking, wash and clean the smoked meat under warm water. Get out a large dutch oven add the meat with enough water plus 3 fingers to over. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce to a simmer. While the meat is cooking, get out a skillet, add the bacon drippings, white onions, bell pepper, green onions, and celery saute until the onions are translucent. Now add the garlic cloves and cook for another minute or two. Add the vegetables, cayenne, salt, black pepper, bay leaves, basil, and thyme to the ham hock pot. Drain and rinse the beans, add them to the pot of ham hocks and pickled pork. 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. To get fork-tender beans takes 2-2 1/2 hours. Add the sausage to a tray and broil until they start to brown and turn up on the edges, drain and add to the pot. I cook the sausage in the oven prior to adding them to the pot to cook off some of the grease. Cook for another 30-40 minutes. 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. During the last 15-17 minutes of cooking, take about 1/4 of the beans out of the pot, add them to a bowl and mash them with a potato masher. Return to the pot and cook for another 10-13 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, taste, and adjust dry seasonings if necessary. Serve the beans over the steamed rice, garnished with chopped green onions.