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.