Thursday, February 3, 2011

Red Beans And Rice

1 pound dried red beans, picked over to remove small rocks and other types of beans
4 or 5 large celery stalks, cut in fine dice
1 large or 2 medium green bell peppers, cut in fine dice
1 large or 2 medium white or yellow onions, peeled and diced
2 or 3 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme (not ground)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (not ground)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground or crushed white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce, plus more to serve
kosher salt

2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice

Variation: Add 1 or 2 smoked ham hocks along with the celery and other ingredients. When the beans are almost tender, remove the ham hocks, cool until easy to handles, pull the meat from the bones and return to the pot.

Preparing the red beans and rice:

Put the beans in a large container, add water to two inches above the beans and soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Put the celery, bell peppers, onion, garlic and onion powder, thyme, oregano, peppers and the 2 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce in a large saucepan or kettle, add 2 quarts (8 cups) of water, set over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour. Skim off the foam and impurities that rise to the surface.

Add the beans and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and continue cooking until the the beans begin to fall apart, about one to one-and-one-half hours, skimming off foam as needed. Stir frequently and add water as necessary to keep the mixture from becoming too thick; do not let the beans burn. When the beans are almost tender, cook the rice according to the package directions.

When the beans are done, remove from the heat. Taste and correct for salt.

To serve, place a generous scoop of rice in the center of individual serving plates and ladle the beans over the rice. Serve with Tabasco sauce on the side.

Serves 6 to 8


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