I’m not a chef, but I’ve played one in a bar.
Here’s my recipe for red beans. I also have a recipe for a crazy cocktail featuring a home-made espresso infused bourbon.
Red Beans and Rice
Oh, I know, people look down on the simple, homey food stuff these days. Everything has to be macerated this or “scented” that. Yeah, I get it. I do it at times when i’m feeling all hoity-toity and looking to impress some visiting dignitary. Usually, I just whip up something that I would like to eat.
Being Southern and having a little love affair with Blue Runner red beans, I sometimes crave red beans and rice. Recently, I decided to tweak my recipe and the result was tasty.
Here’s how it goes:
16 oz. Small Red Beans. One can choose to use canned or dry, in this instance, it’s more about the rest of the mix, not this part. 1/3 of them should be pureed.
2 Quarts chicken stock (I prefer homemade, but boxed works)
2 Bay Leaves
2 Oz Salt Pork thickly chopped or 1 Ham Hock
1 tsp Cumin
1tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp pepper
1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
4 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/3 Cup of the following, very finely diced:
Green Bell Pepper
Sugar, but only in the event of a salty emergency (2 good tricks in the event something seems like a good idea at the time but, after melding of flavors, becomes an exercise in tastebud fortitude: something too salty can be modified with sugar and vice-versa, something that’s too spicy can be brought down a peg via the addition of potatoes, beware of the starch they’ll leach however)
Now, to the good stuff.
In a large (3+ Qt.) saute pan over low heat, add a few teaspoons (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) of extra virgin olive oil. Add the salt pork to the oil and allow it to cook until the pork becomes crisp and nicely browned. At this point, add the diced pepper, onion and celery to the mix. That’s called the “Holy Trinity” in Creole/Cajun cooking. Cook the mixture until the mixture basically melts down to a puddle of soon to be tasty, beanie goodness. At this point, add the bay leaves and garlic, cooking on low for 5 min. and then add the rest of the seasonings, withholding the vinegar. Add half of the stock and turn the heat up to medium-low. Add the beans and begin the slow process of cooking the beans down. This is the boring part, usually I grab a sip of bourbon while waiting. Allow the beans to simmer until it’s reduced by half and add the remaining stock to the mix. This is also the time to add the vinegar and remove the bay leaves. Simmer until the mixture has reduced by about 1/3. Remove from heat and serve over rice with a side of andouille sausage and a bottle of your favorite hot sauce.
This will make enough to serve a group of 4-6, depending on individual appetites.