Red Beans and Rice

Always Prepared…Or Not!
Last week I was sick as a dog. (What exactly does that mean?) Being sick is never a good thing, but when you have a family, Mom being sick is just bad. There is no sleeping in ’cause you still have to make lunch and get the kids to school. The dog who cannot be trusted doesn’t understand why she has to be outside while you’re inside trying to take a nap. So she makes that more pathetic than usual Basset Hound howl, which means you have to man the couch instead of sleeping in your own bed.

Worse of all is that meals are the last thing on my mind – but we still gotta eat. We had pizza the first night. The second night Mac & Cheese it was. (I know, but at least the neon mess was the organic version.) And it just got worse from there.

Needless to say it would have been nice to have either my own personal chef or, more realistically, some of my favorites in the freezer to pull out and re-heat. I have a Minestrone soup which would have been awesome. Homemade Chicken pot pies would have been perfect too. But one of my favorite comfort foods is Red Beans and Rice!

So this weekend, assuming it’s not 150° outside again, I am going to make a bunch of dinners and stuff ‘em in the freezer for when they’re needed. This way whether I AM sick and tired or JUST sick and tired, I can still put something good on our plates…

Red Beans and Rice
Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
8 servings

1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
3 tablespoons bacon fat
1/4 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 pound smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound smoked ham hocks
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock
4 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions, garnish

Soak the beans
Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

Sauté the onions and veggies
In a large pot, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the chopped ham and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the grease in the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft (about 4 minutes).

Cook the beans
Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks (about 4 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken (about 2 hours).

If the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.

Finish the dish
Remove the beans from the heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy (about 15 to 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Instant Pot
Quick soaking beans in the Instant Pot is easy. Just add your beans to the Instant Pot with enough water to cover them by at least an inch plus a teaspoon of salt. Pressure cook on high for five minutes and allow for a natural pressure release. Drain off the liquid and your beans are ready for your recipe!

Comments are closed.