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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Red Beans and Rice

This is an old recipe from The Washington Post, so old I can't find it in their recipe database. (There are some that are similar but not the same.) I started making it about 18 years ago. I'm not certain of its authenticity, but I love how it tastes.


Red Beans and Rice

Adapted from:  The Washington Post
Serves: 6-8

This recipe uses 4 types of pepper. I like the flavor combination so I follow the instructions, although I lower the amount of cayenne. Feel free to modify any of the peppers to suit your heat tolerance.

1 pound dry kidney beans
2 quarts water
1 1/2 teas salt
additional water to cover beans
one ham bone, optional (or ham hocks)
1 large onion, chopped
1 c chopped green pepper
4 green onions, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teas hot sauce, such as Tabasco or to taste
1 teas ground white pepper
2 teas dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 1/2 teas dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teas cayenne (or less)
1/2 teas freshly ground black pepper
2-3 cups cubed ham, about 1/2 inch bits

cooked white rice
sour cream

The night before you plan to serve, sort through the beans on a flat surface; discard stones, dirt, and withered beans. Place the beans, 2 quarts water, and 1 1/2 teas salt in a bowl or pot and stir until salt has dissolved. Allow to sit overnight. At least six hours before serving, drain the beans and rinse them. Place into a pot or Dutch oven, add water to cover by an inch or so and place on a burner over medium heat. If you forget to soak the beans, you can do a speed-soak by bringing to a boil the beans, water, and salt. Then remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least an hour before continuing with the recipe. I'll admit I prefer the overnight method, but have forgotten often enough that I've frequently resorted to the speed-soak. Because the beans have been soaked in salt water, don't add more salt until you've tasted the end product.

Add to the beans, a ham bone or several ham hocks, and all other ingredients except the cubed ham. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and gently simmer, covered, for several hours until the beans begin to break up and the liquid begins to thicken. Stir occasionally and make sure you keep the heat at a level that avoids scorching. When the beans are very tender remove the ham bone. If the beans are still soupy, remove the lid and raise the heat and allow the liquid to evaporate somewhat. Stir often at this keep from burning the beans. You can also remove some of the cooking liquid and discard it (but reserve it until you know you won't need it). At this point I use a potato masher to smash some of the beans. Add the ham and allow to heat through. Taste for seasoning and if needed, add some salt.

Serve over white rice with a dollop of sour cream and more scallions or chives as a garnish. Corn bread is a good accompaniment, too.


If you can find it, you can use andouille sausage to replace some or all of the ham. You might want to reduce the pepper amounts depending on how spicy the sausage is.

This freezes well.

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