Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Red Beans & Rice with Andouille Sausage

Red Beans & Rice with Andouille Sausage
Serves 8 – 10
Another GREAT Football Sunday meal!!!
Red Beans & Rice with Andouille Sausage 
Long simmering red beans practically cook themselves, a fact that did not escape the many generations of hardworking Louisiana Creole women who made this dish every Monday – on laundry day. Made with red beans, vegetables, spices and pork bones left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. Meats such as ham, sausage (most commonly Andouille) are frequently used. Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine. It is one of the few New Orleans style dishes to be commonly served both in people’s homes and in restaurants – often as a Monday special as well as a staple for large gatherings such as Super Bowl and Mardi Gras parties. Regional cuisine, like this dish, remains a beautiful and lasting tradition.
Use authentic Carolina gold rice for this!
I love beans. Yes, truly. Rancho Gordo Beans are the best and becoming more available all the time – in stores and online. They sell their heirloom beans “new” – meaning they are harvested and dried within a year and then sold to the public. When beans are stored too long, a longer cooking time is needed to soften them. Less cooking time means their delicate flavors are preserved and that they retain their shape when cooked. See http://ranchogordo.com

This recipe calls for 2½ C (about 1 pound) dried red beans, which have been soaked overnight. Some believe that changing the soaking water cuts down on the flatulence factor of beans. Just as many disagree. Likely the only thing you can do to prevent gas is to eat beans more often and your body will learn how to digest them (or take a Beano with them!). I do not change the soaking liquid – in fact, I usually use the same liquid when cooking the beans.
  • 2 Tb olive oil (or bacon fat)
  • 1 lb. smoked ham, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 med onions chopped
  • 2 red or green bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 ½ C (1 pound) dried red beans, soaked overnight                                                                         I used Rancho Gordo “Sangre de Toro” red bean
  • 1 – 2 smoked ham hocks (optional)
  • 1 C chopped fresh parsley (divided)
  • 2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 Tb fresh thyme (divided)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 generous dashes hot sauce, plus more for serving
  • Salt & pepper
  • Water as needed
  • 1 lb. Andouille sausage, sliced
  • Steamed long grain white rice or Carolina Gold Rice
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and sliced on diagonal 

Soak beans, after rinsing them in lots of cool water and checking them for small bits of debris. Cover them with about 1 inch of cold water and leave them overnight. They will expand as they absorb the water.  Do not add salt to the water.

Heat 2 Tb olive oil (or bacon fat) in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until sizzling hot.  Add the smoked ham and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes until it begins to brown. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes more, until the onions are soft and light brown and the peppers are brightly colored and tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the soaked beans, their soaking liquid, ½ C of parsley, the Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, 1½ tsp of thyme, red pepper flakes, black pepper, hot sauce and 1-2 smoked ham hocks. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches and simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally over low heat until beans are tender. Add more water if needed; the beans should always be covered by at least 1 inch of water.
Cooking with the ham hocks
While the beans are cooking, slice Andouille sausage in half longitudinally. Then cut in horizontal large chunks. While it is a cooked sausage, I like to grill the Andouille sausage to obtain the wonderful grill marks.
Mmmmmm....Andouille sausage

....now cooked to a golden brown
When the beans are tender, remove the ham hocks and allow them to cool. Add salt to taste. Go easy as it takes a while for the beans to absorb it. Start with a scant 2 tsp and retaste later after all meats have been added. Once the hocks have cooled, remove the meat from the hocks, cut into ½ inch pieces and add back to the pot. Stir in the grilled Andouille sausage and remaining 1½ tsp thyme, and cook for about 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the beans develop thick, creamy gravy. Stir in the remaining ½ C chopped parsley and season with additional salt and black pepper if desired.
Sliced and diced hocks

Now with all the fixin's!
Serve this hot over a bed of steamed white rice, or, better yet – Carolina Gold Rice, garnished with sliced scallions and with extra hot sauce on the side. When served on a plate, the rice is usually mounded in the center, perhaps with a bit of parsley. The beans are spooned all around the rice, and sausage placed alongside.  Sliced scallions, cut on the diagonal, is an optional garnish and a bottle of hot sauce should always be available.
Excellent with an ice cold beer
This is a filling wonderful meal! I get rave reviews without exception! At most you would serve with a small green salad. I love it with beer, a dry Riesling perhaps or wonderful Zinfandel or Beaujolais. New Orleans jazz great Louis Armstrong was in love with the union enough to sign his letters “red beans and ricely yours.”

Red Beans and Ricely yours,


1 comment:

  1. From one of our Larue followers:

    Hi. I wanted to tell you how much I love your sausage recipe. I made it this weekend and it was a huge hit! I decided to go with canned beans instead of soaking/simmering them and no ham hocks but it was still amazing. And you were totally right that it goes perfectly with an ice cold beer while watching the playoffs.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe/blog and can't wait for more!

    PS. Just got your update about the cocoa pecan cookies and they look amazing!