What better recipe than red beans and rice to kick off a week long Mardi Gras celebration? Over the next few days I will be highlighting some of the best recipes to come out of New Orleans along with my first cookbook giveaway this coming Friday! Red Beans and Rice is a Monday tradition in New Orleans. Years before the automatic washing machine was invented, Mondays were traditionally known as wash day. This all-day affair made it a good day to slow simmer a big pot of beans. The bone from the Sunday ham was thrown into the pot of beans to give it a smoky flavor. My family loved this recipe; it is so flavorful and hearty. I have never made red beans and rice from scratch before; I had always used the Zatarans mix. I am sure glad that I gave this recipe a try, it is incredible! Serve a bowl of this with a slice of corn bread slathered with honey butter and your family will swear they are in N’awlins!
3 tablespoons salt
1 pound small red beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over
4 slices bacon (about 4 ounces), chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 cups water
8 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
In a large bowl dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Heat bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add onion, green pepper, and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, and black pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in beans, broth, and water; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are just soft and liquid begins to thicken, 45 to 60 minutes.
Stir in sausage and red wine vinegar and cook until liquid is thick and beans are fully tender and creamy, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and additional red wine vinegar. Serve over rice, sprinkling with scallions and hot sauce.
Source: The Bitten Word