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Oh, honey, red beans and rice!

Let’s kick it!  One of my favorite dinner parties ever was a big group of friends huddled around our table all sharing a giant pot of red beans and rice.  I think it’s the subtle red pepper flavor that warms me up and makes me want to come back for more.

Soak up your red beans the night before.

FIll up a big pot with 6 c. water and the red beans.  Add 1 or 2 c. chopped onion, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 2 bay leaves, and 1/2 t. to 3/4 t. red peppers.  Simmer your beans for a couple hours, checking to see if you need water.  Here’s the tricky part:  you want the beans to cook down with a lovely thick “bean gravy.” You’re not aiming for soup.  Ideally you want to be able to serve your red beans on rice without needing to drain off water.  I cook my beans until they are tender and then, if I so choose, I add meat.  We like to use a ButterBall turkey sausage, sliced.  For you onion phobes out there, rest assured that 3 hours of cooking tenderizes onions into a fabulously flavorful but unidentifiable character.  You’ll never find them.

I don’t cook beans with salt or salty meat because I’ve learned that salt makes beans tough.  I just add my salt at the end.

Honestly, red beans have a great flavor.  I don’t think they need ham, sausage, or pork hocks.  Pork is expensive, so I just try to leave it on the shelf for Congress.

Here’s the cost:

1 bag red beans: $1.40

1 or 2 onions: $1.00 (at the most!)

garlic:  .30

bay leaves: oh for Pete’s sake, I have no idea.  I have a giant container I keep on the top shelf.

ground red pepper:  FREE if you save two packets from the next time you order out pizza

a sausage, if you must: $3.50.

rice:  .75

TOTAL:  $6.95    A budget deal!  Somebody call the Treasury Secretary.  I’m giving away an economic recovery recipe.

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About onlifeandbeans

I like to make the adventure taste good by cooking tasty, wholesome food. Most of what I've learned in cooking, I've picked up from cookbooks and lots of practice. (Thank you, Fannie Farmer, for the right start. ) I so appreciate cookbooks that tell how and why to do something; that's why I do the same for my readers. I want to know what is in my food. I want my family to sit down and share a meal together. I want our food to taste good. Home-cooking takes time, but it gives back rich dividends in budget minding, good health and familial love. One meal at a time.

9 responses »

  1. That sounds yummy!! How do you keep your beans from turning into a big mushy mess? When I cook beans they are either a little crunchy or very mushy. Trying to find the balance.

    Reply
  2. I think cooking the beans slowly over medium heat works best. When I am in a hurry and super boil them, they fall apart.

    Reply
  3. Yummy! One of our favorites too! With or without pork. 😉

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  4. This is one of our new favs!

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  5. Yumm! So glad you posted this. I adore red beans and rice, but have never felt like I’ve made a terrific batch. I’ll give it another go!

    Reply
  6. love love love me some red beans and rice!!!! It is actually the leam we make the day AFTER Thanksgiving every year to give us a little break from the left overs! Of course I always make so many beans then those are left over too!!!!

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  7. I particularly love your writing in this post. Thanks, Andrea.

    Reply
  8. Down here in the bayou (ha!), we like them mushy and sometimes even runny and gravy-like … I usually mash the soft beans, then add the turkey sausage.
    Many New Orleanians still have red beans every Monday …

    Today is Monday, Today is Monday
    Monday red beans, all you hungry children, come and eat it up, come and eat it up!

    Reply
  9. Thinking about soaking beans just makes me break out in hives. Probably an unsuccessful attempt in Japan – I would guess, if I could remember even yesterday. However, I did open a can of kidney beans to add to leftovers to make chili. And I tasted the juice in the can to see if I should throw it in or away. It was SWEET. From SUGAR! In a can of beans!!! Too much America for me in THAT. So, I will remember this blog post and try to soak my own beans after this!

    Reply

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