Serves 6 generously
- 1 pound dried small red beans, or kidney beans
- 4 quarts cold water
- seasoning meat – 6 slices bacon or 1-2 pounds (Andouille or other beef or pork – not polish) sausage, and/or 1 ham hock
- 1 medium to large onion, diced
- ¼ cup olive oil, other liquid shortening, or bacon grease
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1½ teaspoons ground pepper, black or cayenne
- 1 quart hot water, more if needed
Rinse beans very well, picking out stones and debris. In a large pot, over high heat, bring beans and 1 gallon cold water to boil. Turn heat to medium and boil gently for 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow beans to soak 2 – 4 hours.
When using sausage, cut it into 1” lengths before cooking or cut bacon in 1 inch lengths. In large skillet, sauté seasoning meat(s) and onion in ¼ cup hot grease until onions become transparent. Add garlic and continue sautéing on medium heat for about 3 minutes more.
While seasonings sauté, bring pot of presoaked beans to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and cook while seasonings sauté. Add cooked seasonings and bring bean pot back to a boil on high heat, stirring frequently. Turn heat to medium low, stir in salt and pepper and continue to cook at a gentle boil for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Do not put a lid on pot. Stir often to release gas in beans and to prevent sticking. Add water as necessary being careful not to make beans soupy – you want the liquid to have a little “thickness” to it.
When beans are fork tender, taste liquid and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice and accompanied by hot cornbread.
Beans and rice or beans and cornbread make a deliciously healthy complete protein when eaten together. During the depression Americans consumed a lot of dry beans and rice because of the minimal price and good health benefits. Our family ate them weekly simply because we loved them, and we still love them to this day.
If you have not tried red beans and rice you are missing out on a real treat as well as a healthy meal. Why not try them this week and see what you have been missing?
Ya’ll have another down home delicious day now.