03 December 2011

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Mulate's famous red beans & rice with sausage,...
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From Denny:  Red Bean and Rice is a traditional recipe in Louisiana that was the original Wash Day food every Monday, in every household in New Orleans, rich or poor.  These beans could simmer on the stove for hours, leaving time for household chores.

Living in Louisiana, sometimes I forget some people don't know how to make this simple delicious dish.  It's seems when I am researching up pops something else that I just know you will want to see.

I've been thinking lately of how to get more beans into our diet by adding to traditional recipes and found some awesome recipes from the various bean grower sites that I will be featuring soon on all my food blogs.  If you are not yet sold on beans as a healthy and inexpensive food, this dish would be a great introduction.

You can enjoy it with or without meat.  In Louisiana we typically serve it with andouille sausage, a regional specialty.  Trust me; you can substitute your own sausage favorite.  I've even used a wonderful local smoked turkey sausage from the Richard's brand (we pronounce it Ree-shard).  When I make it without meat I up the spices, including hordes of sliced celery which gives it an interesting flavor, along with gas management. :)

This recipe featured below is for a crowd as it serves 24.  It's what we do around here as an inexpensive way to entertain or tailgate during football season. (GEAUX LSU TIGERS!!!)  I know, a shameless plug, the team is playing today and so far is undefeated this season.  What do you expect an alumnus to do? :)

How I would alter this recipe for personal taste is to up the garlic from 2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 Tablespoons - more to taste after the dish cooks a while - especially if you are making it without meat or with turkey or even tofu.  I'm not the biggest fan of yellow onions, preferring our red onions or the Vidalia mild sweet onion.

As to eating it with white rice or brown rice, well, we like brown rice at our house.  It sure has a lot more flavor and is great for balancing out and sustaining your blood sugar levels too.  If you don't have a ham hock, just substitute a pound of cooked bacon where you have rendered off the fat.

Also, remember that thyme is a wonderful herb but must be used sparingly.  The longer it cooks the more pronounced the smell and taste can become.  So, I'd stick with this recipe for the measurement.

As to garnishment, we use chopped green onions or parsley.  I like to add chopped coriander parsley because it has a wonderful perfume and assertive taste to balance the smoked meat.  Louisiana cooking is really all about your personal taste.  Not all Louisiana food is atomic hot, in fact, real Creole is not hot at all but savory.  It will be salty and full of fat but hey, that's the French heritage!

Try this excellent basic recipe and then experiment as to what you and your family enjoy.  You can also add Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce and tobasco pepper vinegar to cut the starch of the beans.  Make sure to serve some baked buttered garlic French bread on the side.  You would get yelled at here in Louisiana if you forgot it! :)


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Cajun Red Beans and Rice


From:  ciaprochef - go here to see video of chef demo (no embed code available)


Cajun Red Beans and Rice


ciaprochef:  "Red beans and rice is the official Monday dish in New Orleans, available on menus in restaurants all over town. Red beans and rice is typically served with smoked sausage, but it is also a wonderful accompaniment to fried chicken, a menu item that continues to grow in popularity in the U.S."


Yield: 24 portions


IngredientsAmount
Light red kidney beans2 lb.
Cold water4 qt.
Bacon, small dice6 oz.
Yellow onion, ½" dice2 cup
Green bell pepper, large, ½" dice2 cup
Celery, ½" dice1 cup
Garlic, minced2 tsp.
Ham hock, smoked1 ea.
Chicken stock6 qt.
Bay leaf6 ea.
Thyme, dried1 tsp.
Salt & pepperto taste
Cayenne pepperto taste
Garnish
Scallions, cut ¼"1 cup
Andouille sausage, per person6 oz.
White rice, cooked, per person3 oz.


Method


  1. Soak beans in cold water overnight. Drain the soaked beans in a colander, discarding the soaking water.
  2. In a suitable stock pot, render diced bacon until crisp. Remove until later in the recipe. Sweat vegetables in the rendered fat until tender but not browned. Add the drained beans, ham hock, chicken stock, bay and thyme, and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Stirring frequently, simmer gently for approximately 2 hours, or until the beans are falling apart and the liquid in the pot has begun to thicken. DO NOT mash the beans to achieve the proper texture. Add water and continue cooking if beans are still mealy.
  4. Season well with salt, fresh ground black pepper and cayenne. The heat for both the black and red pepper should register as a tingle on the back of the tongue, rather than a burn in the front of the mouth.
  5. Remove the ham hock and pull the meat from the bone and discarding the skin. Shred the meat for garnish.
  6. Cut the green onion ¼" for garnish. Split the sausage lengthwise, and grill or sear on both sides.
  7. For each person fill a large soup bowl halfway with the cooked beans. Top with a mound of rice. Garnish with two pieces of grilled sausage and shredded ham hock. Sprinkle with the cut scallions.




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