Thursday, September 29, 2011

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

There are countless versions of Red Beans and Rice out there, but to me, real Red Beans and Rice means a couple things: no tomatoes, lots of kidney beans, cajun inspired seasoning and just to get in the right frame of mind, learning to say the words "New Orleans" as "Nawlins."

My deep affection for our slow cooker continues, so this version calls for a slow cooker, but you could easily make it on your stove-top too, just be sure to simmer for a good hour or two.

One last note: I make our Red Beans and Rice with bacon, but you can use a ham hock, smoked sausage or even omit meat and make it vegetarian.

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, deseeded and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1/4 cup smoked bacon, ham hock or sausage (or omit to make vegetarian)
6 cups kidney beans (either soaked overnight or from 3 - 15 oz cans)
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon salt (if using canned beans, you may want to reduce the salt a bit)
3-4 cups water
3 cups cooked rice
optional: hot sauce (for serving)

Add all the ingredients in a slow cooker, except water and rice. Stir well. Slowly add the water, being sure it fully covers all the ingredients, about 3-4 cups, depending on the size and shape of your slow cooker.

Cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours, LOW 10-14 hours.

Once done cooking, remove approximately 2 cups of the beans and puree in a blender, with an immersion blender or in a food processor (jsut be careful when processing them, as they will be hot)

Add the bean puree back into the slow cooker and stir well.

Serve rice in a bowl, topping with bean mixture.

Sprinkle with a few dashes of hot sauce, if you desire.

Serves 6-8.

Life is sweet, y'all,

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