For those who usually stop by here on Thursdays for Cajun French lessons, today I’m going to pass along a recipe for one of my favorite dishes: red beans and rice. This is more of a Creole dish rather than Cajun, but when it comes to food, we claim everything as our own.
I’ve only made this dish once, following the recipe my sister gave me. She learned how to make it from our mom, who learned it from my paternal grandmother (who from what I understand was an amazing cook). But like I mentioned earlier in the week, my sister’s red beans taste nothing like our mom’s. I’m sharing my sister’s recipe with you. You’re welcome to change anything to make it your own.
1 pound of dried red beans
1 cup diced sausage***
1 large chopped onion – now I haven’t tried it, but for this recipe you could use the “holy trinity” of chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery (that may be used next time).
4 bay leaves
Tony’s Original Chachere (This seasoning is a bit like cheating, but everyone uses it.)
Before you begin cooking, soak the dried red beans for two hours. Sort through the beans for rocks.
Once beans have soaked, rinse them off and put them to boil.
While the beans boil, saute the onion (bell peppers, celery optional) until it’s nearly clear. Add sausage and saute together.
Once beans have begun to boil, add sausage and onions to the pot. Add ingredients to your taste.
Now it’s time to stir and wait and get hungry. The beans will need to cook until they’re somewhat soft. You can check them by pressing a bean between the pot side and the back of the cooking spoon. If the bean is still firm, let it cook longer. The beans will start to stick to the bottom of the pot. When this happens, add more water and continue stirring.
You may notice the beans are almost completely cooked, but they aren’t creamy. To thicken it, smash some of the beans. I’ve heard 1/4 of the pot will help. I just smashed until I was satisfied with the texture. Once you’re satisfied the beans are cooked, remove the pot from the burner, and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
Serve over rice with a side of smoked sausage, or a pork chop and you’ve got a south Louisiana staple meal.
** We use smoked sausage for our recipes, but you can use ham, Tasso ham, andouille sausage, etc. but the consensus seems to be it has to be some type of pork.***