It has always been a dream of mine to travel to New Orleans. I love food and New Orleans has a unique food scene that I have always wanted to experience. With mardi gras just around the cornder, breaking out something a little Creole was perfect.
Red beans and rice is a very traditional New Orleans dish, originally cooked on Mondays while the family did laundry. Because it didn’t need to be watched over closely, and cooked all day long, it was something that could be started in the morning and be done in time for dinner.
I got my recipe from The New Orleans Cookbook by Rima and Richard Collins written in 1975 and published by Knopf, the same publishers that published Mastering the Art of French Cooking!! I got it in a secondhand book store, and so far I love it.
I had to get a little creative because the recipe calls for pickled pork, which I could not find anywhere. So I used salt pork instead. To remove some of the extra salt I boiled it for 45 minutes before adding it to the pot. I also didn’t add the salt that the recipe called for and the seasoning turned out perfect.
2 lb. dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover (I used 3 cans of kidney beans, with no added salt. That’s what I had on hand, but I wish I hadn’t put them in the pot from the beginning because they kind of disintegrated)
2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onion tops(scallion)
1 1/3 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. minced parsley
1 lb. baked (not smoked!) ham, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb. pickled pork, cut into chunks
1 large ham bone, with some meat on it, sawed into 4- to 5-inch lengths (I probably had one 5- to 6- inch bone that was cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 Tbs. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (I used about half a fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced)
2 whole bay leaves broken into quarters
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. dried basil
enough cold water to cover all of the ingredients in the pot
- drain the soaked beans, and put them, along with all of the other ingredients into a large pot.
- cover with cold water
- bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, let it cook at a simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours or until it gets thick and the beans are tender.
- stir it every half hour
- ladle over rice. yum.
I let mine cook for 3 hours covered and then wondered why none of the water was evaporating so that it could thicken up… another hour and and half later without the cover and it thickened right up.