February 15, 2011

N'awlins Red Beans and Rice

The brussel sprouts were a bust. They were lovely and fragrant and beautifully browned, but also generally not delicious. Could have been the preparation, or maybe I just don't like brussel sprouts. It's hard to say at this point, but you will not be getting that recipe, and Erik won't have to try yet another weird vegetable just because it's Valentine's Day and he loves me.

Not the way to say "I love you"

A much better Valentine's offering: red beans and rice. Now, I know what you're thinking. Um, beans? On the most-hyped date night of the year? But after six (six!) years with the boy, I have yet to acquire any evidence that he has any kind of bodily functions at all, so your problem is not my problem. Plus, I conferred with my mom, and she decided that red beans are, well, red, and thus V-Day appropriate. Suck it, haters. 

Since we don't do a big V-Day production (as my beautiful cousin Tricia says, "I don't believe in Valentine's Day, just love, every day."), my gift to E-Dawg was mostly-vegetarian me skipping the vegetarian makeover of his favorite southern dish (one of the major issues in our relationship is vegetarian chili, which he is staunchly against). My version included meat from not one but two animals. The first: pig, duh. The second? Gator.

In the South, you can only cook a gator that you personally killed.
What? You don't know.

Well, kind of. I cooked the gator sausage and tossed it in the mix. A few minutes later, I tasted it and picked it all out one piece at a time. Turns out, gator sausage is not delicious. I left the sausage in the final recipe. Mine turned out fantastic without it, though, so consider it optional.

You have to plan ahead a little for this recipe (soaking the beans overnight and cooking for about three hours), but it's almost completely hands-off. And totally worth it.

Red Beans and Rice
Adapted from Emeril

One last note: Even though there's no added salt in this recipe, mine came out quite salty due to the combo of stock, ham, and Old Bay Seasoning. I'd use either low-sodium stock or a 1:1 stock to water mix. 

1 lb red kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, diced small
2 ribs celery, diced small
1 small green bell pepper, diced small
2 cloves garlic, diced
oil or butter, for sauteeing
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
5 cups low-sodium chicken stock or water
1 lb sausage (andouille, kielbasa, or other smoked sausage)
2 ham hocks
Cooked brown or white rice (I used brown, white is traditional)

In large soup pot, sautee onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beans, Old Bay, pepper, sausage and ham. Cover with stock or water and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours, adding more water if mixture dries out (it should be soupy but not too runny). Pull ham hocks out. When cool enough to handle, cut the non-fatty meat off, dice, and add back to pot. Mash about half of the beans with a fork on the side of the pot, and continue to cook for another hour (again, adding water when necessary). When done, beans should very soft and creamy.

Serve over rice (I just mixed the rice right in. It makes for easier refrigerating.) Enjoy!


  1. So here's the thing: Brian and I were at Whole Foods for their weekly wine tasting and one of the items was beets and brussels sprouts. Together. And I was very upset that one of my food pairings was two things I DO NOT LIKE. But the theme of the evening was chocolate so we decided we'd try them. And I actually liked them both. And was thinking oh this is perfect timing because they're in season and Katie is about to post a recipe! And now, no recipe. I never thought I would be sad about the thought of NOT acquiring a brussels sprouts recipe. :) Also, check out my waffle post. I reached my butter limit, so sad.

  2. Ahahaha. I assumed everybody would have seen brussels sprouts and been super un-enthused. I should learn to never underestimate you!

    Aaaand I saw you blog (and commented, like a good little follower!). I'm impressed with your butter bravery (commitment? lots of words could go here). I love me some butter, but I probably would have wimped out at one stick.