Red Beans and Rice
Image courtesy of The New York Times.
I’m from Houston, and every so often, I crave gulf coast comfort food, and red beans and rice never fails to deliver comfort with a mix of flavors and textures. Hardly anything could be easier to prepare, way easier, say, than most casseroles. A few nights ago, I had a dinner party and served red beans and rice and coleslaw and sour dough bread.
I don’t generally use recipes for red beans. Instead, I just wing it based on years of cooking experience, using what I have on hand that’ll give good results. But for anyone wanting a recipe, this one by Kim Severson for The New York Times, inspired by New Orleans food writer Pableaux Johnson, is a good one.
Not all but many ingredients or substitutes are currently available at the Market. If I can’t find Andouille or a smoked sausage that appeals to me, I use hot Italian sausage from one of the market meat producers and, for a smoky flavor, simmer a smoke-dried tomato with the beans and other ingredients.
- 1 ½ pound dried red beans (preferably New Orleans Camelia brand)
- 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick (smoked sausage can also be used)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium onions, finely diced
- 1 large rib celery, finely diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- ¾ teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped
- Cooked white long-grain rice, for serving
- In a large bowl, cover beans in water and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Water should cover beans by at least an inch.)
- In a large, heavy pot, brown sausage in 1 tablespoon of oil until slightly crisp. Add remaining oil, then the garlic and onions. Sauté over medium heat until onions become transparent and limp. Add celery and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Pour soaked beans and water into the pot and bring to a simmer. Add black pepper, cayenne, salt and all herbs except parsley.
- Cook until beans are softened, about 11/2 to 2 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Fifteen minutes before serving, remove 1 cup of beans to a bowl and, using a fork, mash them and stir back into the pot to enhance the creamy texture of the dish. Add parsley and green onions. Simmer about 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning, and add up to 1 cup more water if beans seem too thick. Remove bay leaves. Serve over white long-grain rice.
This locally inspired recipe is brought to you by Pam Walker. Pam is an avid home cook, writer, and local farm and food activist who is also a board member of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute. Thank you, Pam, for helping inspire us to use locally sourced ingredients!