Red Beans & Rice

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We awoke this morning to pouring rain.  I’ve mentioned before how much I love rainy days.  Perfect sleeping weather.  Great for just sitting on the couch, watching movies and reading books.

Not this morning though.  I had to take The Boy for his annual eye exam.  We walked through the rain to get to the optometrist’s office.  He was taken back really quickly and the exam was over before I knew it.  I wrote a check for the exam and for three month’s of contacts.  Then we went right next door to the vision center to pick out a new pair of glasses for him to have as backup.  I wrote another check.  See?  It’s cheaper for me to stay home!  They promised to text me when the glasses were ready and we splashed back through the rain to the car.  The Boy asked if we could stop to get something to drink from Sonic – because I got The Redhead something to drink after school yesterday and it was only fair that I got him something, too.  Whatever.

While we were waiting for our order, we got the text saying his glasses were ready.  Already?  Wow!  We drove back to get them and have them fitted.  The optician who worked with us was talking about the weather and saying how it was red beans and rice weather.

So as soon as we left, we went to the grocery store and I bought the stuff to make red beans and rice!

Red beans and rice is such a great traditional Louisiana dish!  Easy to make.  Really cheap.  Makes a ton.  Yummy stuff.  If you can convince your family to cooperate, you can eat the leftovers for days!

I’m from north Louisiana, and I didn’t grow up eating red beans and rice.  When Michael and I moved to the central part of the state twenty years ago, we discovered a whole new world of food.  Red beans and rice, gumbo, crawfish – lots of things that I had heard of, but never eaten.  My mama cooked deer steak and mashed potatoes and cornbread.  We ate vegetables from the garden.  I fell in love with the food here with its rich South Louisiana influence.

I learned to make red beans and rice from several friends.  The thing is, there are as many different red beans and rice recipes as there are cooks who make it.  Everybody has their own family recipe and they make it way their family likes it.  I have friends who make it in a slow cooker.  I make it on the stove.  Some people like to soak their beans overnight to lessen the cooking time.  I prefer to let mine cook almost all day.  I was at one friend’s house and saw her adding slices of pepperoni to hers – just because it was in the refrigerator.  It’s such a great dish because there are not a lot of ingredients and there’s not a lot of work.  My family loves it and I make it a lot during fall and winter.  I usually end up freezing about half of it.

There are really only three ingredients:

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The cooking part is really simple.  Just saute the vegetables and sausage.

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Add the beans, water, and seasonings and cook until the beans are tender and it looks like this:

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Serve with rice.

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Red Beans and Rice

  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 10-ounce package of frozen seasoning blend
  • 2 13-ounce packages of smoked sausage, sliced into poker chips
  • 2 pounds of dried red kidney beans
  • 1 gallon of water
  • Salt, pepper, garlic salt, Cajun seasoning

In a large stock pot, saute the seasoning blend in olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add the sausage and cook until slightly browned.  Pour in the dry beans and water.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper, 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt.  You will likely add more as it cooks and you taste it.  Cook on high until it comes to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

 

Well Duh #1:  You don’t have to use sausage.  Some people use large cubes of ham or other meats.

Well Duh #2:  It’s hard to put a cooking time on this!  Just cook it until the beans are tender and the liquid is thick and stewy.  I have cooked it anywhere from 3-6 hours.

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