Recipe: New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

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Every Thursday on the Good Food blog we share a recipe from our archives.  Today’s recipe for Red Beans and Rice was first shared with Good Food on February 21, 2009.  It comes to us from Judy Walker, food-editor of The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and co-author of Cooking Up A Storm, a collection of recipes collected post-Katrina.

Keep reading for the full recipe…

Red Beans & Rice

1 lb dried red kidney beans (New Orleanians use Camellia beans)
1/2 lb fatty ham or another seasoning meat, such as salt meat, pickle meat, or smoked ham hock
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 or 2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large bay leaf
1 to 2 tsps Creole seasoning
Black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped green onions (green part only)
Hot cooked rice for serving
Hot sauce for serving

Pick over the beans to remove and stones or broken beans.  Soak overnight in a large bowl with about 3 inches of water to cover.  Drain the water, rinse the beans, drain again, and set aside.

Render the ham or seasoning meat in a Dutch oven over medium heat to obtain the fat, then remove the meat and set aside.  Saute the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in the rendered fat, adding a little oil if needed, until softened.  Add the beans, return the meat to the pan, and pour in 8 to 10 cups water, or enough to cover everything by at least a couple of inches.  Bring to a boil.  Add the bay leaf and Creole seasoning to the beans, then reduce to a simmer and gently cook, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender.  Add more water while cooking, if necessary.

Toward the end of the cooking time, mash some beans with a spoon against the side of the pot to make the mixture creamier, if desired, and add the salt and pepper to taste, the parsley, and the green onions. If you prefer, use the parsley and green onions as a garnish.  Discard the bay leaf and serve in bowls over white rice.  Pass the hot sauce.