I hope y’all liked the last recipe for the Shrimp Pasta! I am still working on emptying the freezer because hurricane season lasts until November 1. And, we bought half a pig. Yeah, literally. Half a pig in my garage freezer. Not the whole pig….but a ton of bacon, pork chops, sausage, you get the idea. We have used most of it but I still have three gallon ziplocks full of hamhocks. Buying the pig was actually a pretty funny experience, but that’s another post for another day.
Red beans are a traditional New Orleans favorite and are usually served on Mondays, which is “Wash Day.” The beans require just about the entire day to cook so the idea is your Mama cooked the beans while she did the wash. Most restaurants around here serve them for the Monday lunch special. They freeze very well and I will usually do 2 pounds at a time because it’s just as easy to cook 2 pounds as it is to do one, you just need a big ol’ pot. There are a zillion different recipes and of course everyone says their Mama makes them the best. I don’t use a real “recipe” but I will explain in detail and you can take it from there!
1 pound dry red beans (Camellia brand is best if you can get that)
celery, maybe 1/2 bunch, chopped
1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
garlic, maybe 3-4 pods, minced
1 large onion, chopped[-
oil, just a little
Tabasco sauce or cajun seasoning (or both, I like Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning if you can get that)
2 Bay leaves
1/2 -1 pound ham, chopped into cubes (browned in skillet beforehand)
1 pound sausage, (browned with ham)
OK, the night before, rinse and sort beans, meaning, pick out any that are funny looking and/or any rocks or whatever that ended up in the bag by mistake. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Kill heat and soak overnight. If you are in a hurry, soaking 30 minutes should do you just fine.
Sorry Jen, I have to interrupt you here. My hubby says that the longer you soak the beans, the less gas you will get when you eat them. Not sure if it’s true, but I am willing to soak them for a week if it’s true! LOL! (just kidding, don’t really soak them for a week!) ~Bridgette
The next morning: in a big pot, saute chopped veggies in a little oil, not much, maybe 1/8 to 1/4 cup until soft. Drain beans and add them to the pot. Add enough water to completely cover beans plus maybe another inch. Give a few good shakes of W sauce (about 2 teaspoons or more if you like), a few good shakes of Tabasco (about 1-2 teaspoons), add Bay leaves, a few shakes of garlic powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low all day, stirring often to keep them from sticking. You cook until the beans are soft and the mixture is thick and creamy. One trick to make them creamier is to take about a cupful towards the end of cooking time, toss them in the blender (or mash them in the cup with a fork) and then add them back to the pot. Once they are pretty thick, you can doctor them up by adding more tabasco, salt and pepper, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, etc. About 1/2 way through cooking, add sliced sausage and ham that has been browned a little in a skillet (drain first). If you can get your hands on a smoked ham hock or ham bone, you can add that during cooking from the beginning and just take it out and toss it once they are done. Serve over white rice with either french bread of cornbread. YUM YUM.
Let me know how yours turn out! Have fun being a New Orleanian!