There is something about an impending snow storm that makes one want to cook something that is soulful, hearty, hot, and stick to the ribs….know what I mean? Almost some primal survival sense that kicks in and drives you to the kitchen to cook something dense and filling. Chicken and dumplings would certainly fill the bill, as would the other famous bean dish I did recently….cassoulet. But yesterday…yesterday just seemed like a red beans and rice day. So we called some friends and neighbors, and said come on over for some NOLA cooking….
Most recipes call for soaking the red beans(preferably Camellia red beans which come from Louisiana-I know some people who won’t make red beans unless they are Camellia-I am less picky)overnight, but you really don’t have to. Just plop your beans in the pot(two packages if you’re cooking for a crowd), put in enough water(some people use chicken broth but you don’t have to) to cover, bring to the boil, cover the pot and take off the heat and let them sit for 2 hours. There’s your overnight soak.
Then pick you recipe and begin….the basics you really need are onions, green peppers, ham hock, sausage(andouille or kielbasa), green onions for serving…and rice of course. The only thing you can’t do without is time. It takes a several hours for the beans to begin to thicken and release their starches and become what they are supposed to become. And the end dish is definitely worth the effort. All you need to go with it is a simple green salad, and some French Bread. Done. Friends brought some homemade peanut butter cookies, homemade pralines(how appropriate is that?), and a lovely fruit salad…..and we feasted.
I’m not gonna write out a recipe…..we just kinda make it up as we go along, but at NolaCuisine.com, you can take a look at several different recipes and then pick one, or do a combo. It’s what’s so great about RB & R…a forgiving dish if there ever was one. Love it! And best of all? We have a big dish of leftovers to heat up this week….and it was easy on the budget.