Friday, October 28, 2011

Tradition with a Twist

I lived in New Orleans for a long time, so on Monday, I made beans and rice.  Red beans and rice are a menu staple in New Orleans, but Monday is when the locals eat 'em.

Menu Board at Mother's Restaurant

The story goes that Monday was wash day in times past, and housewives made beans and rice for dinner because they didn't require a lot of tending.  Beans are easy and can simmer for a few hours on the stove while you take care of other things.

I alternate between making red beans and white beans.  We love them both.  Red beans have a rich, almost smoky flavor while white beans are milder.  They don't get the play that red beans do.  They may be considered an also-ran, a has-bean, if you will.  But I remember the first time I had white beans and rice at the Des Allemands Catfish Festival.  I was smitten!  They were served over fluffy steamed rice as a side to the crispy catfish, but white beans are also often served as a side with a grilled pork chop or paneeed chicken (pounded chicken cutlets dipped in seasoned flour and pan fried).  We eat white beans and rice as a main course; they're an inexpensive meal and a complete source of protein.  Can't beat that!  Plus, beans freeze beautifully (freeze the beans and rice separately, though) and are hearty and delicious fare on those nights when you just don't feel like cooking.

Soak the beans overnight (or use quick-soak method), then drain:

Saute onion and celery in a small amount of oil for 5 minutes:

Add ham cubes, garlic and bay leaf and saute for another 5 minutes:

Add drained beans along with 6 cups of fresh, cold water and some Tabasco:

Stir the pot, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring periodically and adding additional water as needed to prevent beans from sticking.

Mash the beans slightly (you want them to be quite broken up):

Start boiling your rice.  Meanwhile, add about 1/3 lb. of your favorite smoked sausage (cubed) to the beans

I brought 10 lbs. of this stuff back last time I went to New Orleans

and serve the rest of the sausage on the side.  Garnish with green onions and add additional Louisiana Hot Sauce or Tabasco.

Creole Style White Beans and Rice
from Emeril Lagasse's Louisiana Real & Rustic
click here to print

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped boiled ham
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 lb. dried white navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
6 to 8 cups water
1 lb. smoked sausage (divided use)
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Heat oil over medium heat in large, heavy saucepan or dutch oven.  You want a heavy pan so that mixture doesn't scorch too easily.

Add onions, celery, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the ham, garlic, and bay leaf.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add drained beans, Tabasco, and 6 cups of the water to start.  Stir and cover; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary.

Mash beans against side of pot so that they are creamy  Add 1/3 lb. of the sausage and cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and serve over rice with a side of sausage and additional hot sauce, if desired.

 C'est Bon, Cher!

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Candace said...

Love these!

Miz Helen said...

Hi Vicky,
This is a great Twist, but a very good one. I know we will just love this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week end and come back soon!
Miz Helen

KB said...

Looks yummy!

Thanks for sharing with

Simply Delish Saturday

Paula {Salad in a Jar} said...

That last picture drew me in. Man, do those look good!!! My mom use to make ham and beans with white beans and we ate it with baked potatoes. How much better with sausage and rice!

Shannon, Food Channel Editor, said...

These look great! I'm not from the south originally, so very intimidated by beans and rice for some reason, these look totally doable!

Thanks for linking up to Momtrends Friday Food!