28 March 2010

Red Beans and Rice

I can't believe it has been more than a month since I posted my thoughts about beans and raisins and eating our words.

I don't know about you but my bowl of beans filled up more quickly than I would have liked. Now it is time to transform those hard dry beans into a nourishing dish that is both palatable and nutritious. Fortunately I have just the recipe.

This is a recipe I found many years ago. It was cut from a magazine, possibly Southern Living, and taped into my recipe binder shortly after I was married and moved to Texas. The pinch of cinnamon and the bay leaves sounded intriguing and were reminiscent of the chile I grew up enjoying back home.

Though I had probably never cooked dried beans before I tried this recipe and they were a hit. My friends enjoyed them and now my family does too. When I am looking for something simple and practical to prepare for a potluck or a snug weekend at home, I often think of Red Beans and Rice. They make a good side dish, as they blend well with many styles of food, but are also great as a main course rounded out with a simple salad and a big slice of cornbread.

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound dried red beans
3 quarts water
1 pound cooked ham, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 bay leaves
Hot cooked rice

Rinse and sort the dried beans. Place them in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover 2 inches above the peas. Cover and let soak overnight.

Next day: Drain and rinse the beans in a colander.

Return the beans to the soup pot or Dutch oven and cover beans with the water. Bring to a boil.

Add the next 8 ingredients. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until beans are tender.

When the beans are tender, mash some against the side of the pan with a spoon (up to half the beans) and stir well until you achieve the desired consistency.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered up to another hour or so, stirring occasionally until they are done.

Discard bay leaves. Serve hot over rice.



Pam said...

Red Beans and Rice is one of my all time favorite foods.

grace said...

cinnamon! how unexpected and marvelous! great bowl o' comfort cuisine, lisa. :)

Ricki said...

I love comfort food, and of course anything economical. . . this fits both bills. Though sorry that bowl filled up so quickly (hope the raisin one was equally fast)! ;)

Cathy said...

Love this hearty combination of flavors and textures. This is perfect comfort food during this crazy weather we're having.

Sarah said...

Hi Lisa!

I wanted to let you know that I tagged your blog in my "10 things that make me happy" award post. Thank you for being an inspiration and such a help in my start to blogging!


theUngourmet said...

I like the sound of the cinnamon in here...and the yummy ham! I love bean and rice together.