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A Traditional New Orleans Monday Dinner is Red Beans & Rice; Recipe Included

Source: Google ”Elaine Hodges” artwork

You can’t think of New Orleans without thinking of Red Beans and Rice. There are many recipes for Red Beans & Rice and various brands of beans that cooks use, but I believe that the best pot of Red Beans and Rice are made with Camellia red kidney beans. Camellia Brand® is a New Orleans company specializing in beans, peas, and lentils. I have tried many brands of beans, be it white, red or green and Camellia Brands always prove to cook up the best pot of beans. Their beans just cook up creamier than any other brand. If you don’t live in New Orleans or anywhere in Louisiana you can order them online.

There have been times when I used cans of Blue Runner red beans, but for me, the steps in cooking Camellia red beans especially on Monday feel soulful. But feel free to use any type of bagged or canned red kidney beans that you wish. I found that the lighter red beans breakdown softer than other beans. I refuse to use the dark red beans, I think those are more for chili and etc.

Blue Runner brand sells bagged red beans as well.

What I love about the history of cooking Red Beans and Rice is; it was about survival, making something taste good out of a little of nothing. You can feed a family of 4-6 people with one bag of red beans and the parts of meat known as throw away parts back in the days of slavery and segregation.

In New Orleans, Mondays were laundry day in New Orleans and red beans and rice was an easy dish to put on the stove and leave. The dish is a standard offering every Monday in New Orleans restaurants.

As you know dried red beans are really hard. So they need to soak (this will also reduce the cooking time by about a third). When I’m in a hurry I rinse and clean my beans, put them in a pot of water, bring to a boil and let them sit for an hour then I begin my cooking process. But you can place the beans in a bowl of cold water and let them sit overnight. Make sure to sort through the beans as I have found hard small particles in mines. For some reason, my Momo uses to toss out the broken and abnormal darker beans, but I leave the broken beans especially after seeing all the smashing that was done to make creamier beans.

Another thing that I do differently is adding hot sausage to my beans along with smoked sausage, pickled pigtails, and smoked ham.

You may be wondering what the heck are pickled meat/pigtails and/or tasso??? Pickling Meat is a way of curing and preserving different types of meats and was developed before the days of refrigeration or easy access to ice for keeping meats cold. Pickled pork, or “pickle meat”, as it’s called in New Orleans, is what New Orleanians consider the perfect seasoning meat for red beans and rice, as well as other bean dishes. Some use ham hocks, some smoked ham, some even use tasso. But you’ll just all New Orleanians’ will tell you that it ain’t red beans without pickle meat.

What in the world is Tasso? It’s lean strips of boneless pork which are marinated in a special seasoning and then heavily smoked to create a Cajun delicacy. Tasso is sliced or diced into small pieces and added to beans, vegetables, gumbos, or red beans and rice to add flavor.

 

 

  • 6 cups Long grain white or brown rice, cooked

In addition to that my ”Holy Trinity ” consists of bell pepper, onion, garlic, green onion, and parsley. I do not like celery and try not to use it, but please adjust to your taste.

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 (1-pound) package Camellia Brand Red Kidney Beans or Red Kidney Beans

 

  • 1 (32-ounce) container no-sodium chicken broth

 

  • 2 cups of water, as needed

 

  • 1 large onion, chopped

 

  • 1 bell pepper, chopped

 

  • ½ cup chopped parsley

 

  • ½ cup chopped green onion 

 

  • 4-7 cloves garlic, minced

 

  • 1 pound of tasso, smoked ham, or pickled pork or a large ham hock

 

  • 1 pound smoked sausage

 

  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped

 

  • 2 bay leaves

 

  • ½ tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil

 

  • Hot sauce to taste

 

  • Creole or Cajun seasoning to taste

 

  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

  • Sliced green onion, for garnish, optional

 

Directions:

Rinse and sort beans. (Optional: Soak beans using your preferred method. I like to soak my beans overnight or the quick boil for 10 minutes and sit for three hours method. Soaking beans in water helps them cook up more tender.)

Place beans in a large, heavy pot and cover with chicken broth and water. If needed, add fresh water mixture is a ratio of 1 part beans to 2 parts water.

Bring the beans to a rolling boil, then lower heat, and simmer for 1-2 hours, or until tender. Stir often, (so that beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot) and add water as needed. 

 

Saute meats in that same skillet, but separately with a bit of olive oil or vegetable oil, until nicely browned. Remove meat, save drippings and set aside. (I still like to saute all of the ingredients, rather than to just dump everything in the pot raw. Doing so heightenings the flavor. Multiple cured pork products lend deep flavor to the beans.)

In drippings, skillet adds onions, green onion, and bell pepper sauté until tender. Add garlic, bay leaf, thyme and saute for 2 minutes, sprinkle with seasoning salt, stirring occasionally.

Add meat and sautéed vegetables to the beans. Water should cover all.

Continue to simmer for 1-3 hours, until beans are tender and creamy (continue to stir and avoid burning on the bottom of the pot).

To make creamier beans, remove 2 or 3 cups of beans from the pot, puree them with a mixer or blender, and return to pot. Add hot sauce, salt, pepper and/or Creole seasoning to taste.

Serve over hot white rice, garnish with chopped green onions or parsley with buttered cornbread or French bread.

Homecooked
New Orleans Food and Spirits: Red Beans & Rice with smoked sausage, French bread, and hush puppies.
Anita’s Grill Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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