Guest Author - Sandie Jarrett
A long time Louisiana favorite, Red Beans and Rice is a delicious meal when served with a green salad and hot baguettes. At one of my favorite little Cajun restaurants, The Ragin’ Cajun, Steven Domingue serves Red Beans and Rice with most of his combo plates. I usually order it for lunch with coleslaw. The combination of the highly seasoned, steamy hot beans and rice and the cool, creamy coleslaw is heavenly!
1-1/4 cups dried pinto beans
1 ham hock, about 1/2 pound or left over ham bone with meat attached
2 – 3 tablespoons Olive Oil (just enough to cover the bottom of a frying pan)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium bell peppers (red, green, or one of each), seeded, deribbed, and diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups (16 ounce can) crushed tomatoes
1 cup (8 ounce can) tomato sauce
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce or Swamp Scum Sauce
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
6 cups cooked rice white rice
Rinse beans in a colander. Remove any damaged beans or tiny stones. Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 3 hours.
Drain the beans, discarding the water. Place the beans and the ham hock in a large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 40 – 60 minutes.
Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and celery (Trinity) and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and sauté a few minutes more, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the Trinity to the beans, along with 1/2 of the parsley (reserve remainder for garnish), crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer low and slow for about 2 hours or until nice and thick. Remove the ham hock – reserve meat for another purpose or dice it up and add it back to the beans if you wish.
Cook the rice about 30 minutes before the beans are ready.
To make 6 cups of cooked white rice:
2 cups long grained white rice or popcorn rice
3-1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
Start the rice after the beans, Trinity, and seasonings have simmered for about 1- 1/2 hours. The rice will be cooked just about the time the beans are ready.
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the rice and salt; cover reduce heat to low and simmer for exactly 20 minutes. No peeking while the rice is cooking! Check to make sure that the rice is tender and that the water is absorbed. If not, recover and cook over low heat for a few extra minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered for about 5 minutes. Do not stir with a spoon. You can fluff up the rice with a fork if you wish.
To serve, put about 1 cup of rice in individual soup plates (or wide bowls) and ladle a generous serving of the beans on top. Garnish with the reserved parsley and green onions.