Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Red beans & rice

with 3 comments

The Eldest suggested this recipe:

Goes so nicely with a side of collards cooked with vinegar and some onions and red peppers!  Oooh, and cornbread!

2 lbs. smoked ham hocks
4 c. cooked red beans or kidney beans (larger than true red beans)
1 c. water
2 TBSP onion, very finely minced
2 TBSP celery, very finely minced
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 c. hot converted rice, cooked

Render the fat from the ham hocks by placing them in a deep pan, covered with foil, and cooking in a 275 degree oven for 4 to 5 hours.  Discard the hocks or save them to flavor a stew, reserving the drippings.

Combine the drippings (up to 1/4 c.) with all the remaining ingredients except the rice. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash about half of the beans into a paste. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve over the rice.  Makes four servings.

The shanks are now in the oven, about 1 hr 20 minutes into total cooking time. The Eldest says to cook them until you feel like eating the whole stove they smell so good. And even now the fragrance is wonderful.

Instead of deep pan with foil cover, I used my 2-qt Staub Dutch oven. Two shanks, 1 lb each, fit very nicely. I also added a little ground white pepper to the stew, The Eldest advising that white pepper works better in red beans & rice than black.

It occurs to me that substituting EVOO for the shank fat would make it a vegetarian—even vegan—dish.

UPDATE: Roasting temperature as shown—275º F—is correct: two-seven-five.

UPDATE 2: Note important emendations by Seamus in the comments.

UPDATE 3: Just made second batch, adding the minced green pepper along with onions and celery, and also about 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Instead of the butter, I used the fat rendered from the smoked ham shank (along with some of the meat, minced).

And, having used up the small red beans I’d had on hand, I got another pound at the bulk bins at Whole Foods on Sunday.

Not only did it taste terrific, I discovered again that it’s unwise to keep dried beans on hand too long: those in the first batch never did cook to creaminess—just too old, I bet. (I’ve been in this apartment 20 years, but I would guess that those beans were only a few years old.) The new batch quite quickly cooked to creamy smoothness when chewed and mashed easily to thicken the dish.

Written by Leisureguy

10 March 2012 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

3 Responses

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  1. I highly suggest two additions to this tasty recipe–1) add bell pepper, the third part of Cajun food’s holy trinity of peppers, onions and celery, and 2) there is a final step in proper New Orleans red beans that’s seldom spotted in recipes. I’m a former New Orleanian, and I kept coming up short in trying to reproduce the real thing until I found this out. About thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time (with dried beans) or, say, ten minutes with canned, add butter and Worcestershire sauce. Hard to say exactly how much, but a whole lot more than you’d think. On a big pot of beans, it probably comes out to about a quarter cup of each. Sounds nuts, but really–try it! It’s the unmistakable flavor of the real deal. It’s also often got oregano, basil, even a touch of thyme, and a boatload of parsley in or as garnish.

    Like

    Seamus

    11 March 2012 at 8:56 am

  2. Many thanks for the emendations. I will indeed follow your advice, and that reminds me I need to make a new batch of Worcestershire sauce. I use this recipe.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    11 March 2012 at 9:19 am

  3. Woah! Homemade Worcestershire! That I must try. Thanks for the link.

    Hope you enjoy those additions–they’re so good I no longer worry about whether I have ham hocks when I make red beans.

    Like

    Seamus

    11 March 2012 at 9:32 am


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