|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!