RED BEANS AND RICE

My Grandmother cooked red beans and rice every Monday.  Before going to bed Sunday night put the beans on to soak. Monday was wash day, and she would put on a pot of beans and start washing clothes.  Cooking beans require very little attention, her attention and energy are focused on cleaning the house after a big family Sunday dinner and washing clothes. 

RED BEANS AND RICE

1 pound red kidney beans, 1 large smoked ham hocks or 1 pound of smoked turkey tails, 1/2 pound smoked rope sausage, cut into 1/2 inch rings, 3 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings, 5 garlic cloves, chopped,  1 cup yellow onions, chopped, 2 celery stalkes, chopped,  1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon ground thyme, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, 2 bay leaves, 3 cups long-grain rice, cooked

Pour the beans into a bowl, add enough water to cover the beans plus 2-fingers, and 1 tablespoon of salt to the beans, set aside for at least 4 hours. The outer pigment of the beans will cause the water to turn a darkish red color; pour this water off and add fresh water and soak for another 3 hours, set aside.  At the same time, 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.  Turn heat to medium.  While the meat 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 pot.  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.  You are boiling the beans to cause them to burst or what we call creaming the beans.  Creaming the beans create a gravy or a thickening of 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 another 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, taste, adjust if necessary, serve the beans over the rice.

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