Red Beans, White Rice, and the Blues

Because it’s Monday. And I’m in Louisiana, though I’m not doing laundry today.

•2 cups dry small red beans
•16+ cups water
•4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled, reserve drippings
•1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (or too taste)
•2 cloves garlic, minced fine
•1 bay leaf
•3 cups Trinity*
•3 medium carrots, minced
•More water
•2 teaspoons beef base
•2 pounds polish, link, or cajun sausage
•4 cups cooked white rice** (I prefer Jasmine Rice)

“Look & Pick” the beans, removing any trash, rocks, or severely discolored and deformed beans. Rinse beans well, changing water at least 3 times. This step reduces the flatulence-making property of beans. Cover with 8 cups of the water and let them soak overnight in refrigerator. The next day, remove any “floaters” and drain the water off the beans.

In a large heavy pot, cover the beans with 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low and simmer beans for at least one hour. In the meantime, sauté the Trinity*, garlic, and carrots in the reserved bacon drippings. Add the crumbled bacon, the Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, then add the entire seasoning mixture to the partially cooked beans.

Bring back to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer for several hours, adding water as necessary. The beans are done when they begin to “pop” or split and are tender all the way through. (For this step, I use a pressure cooker, even though it’s only 300 or so ft. above sea level here. I like for the carrots and trinity to “dissolve” and thicken the soup.)

High altitudes require using a pressure cooker. If you’re at 4000 ft, you can boil beans for a week and they won’t get done.

Check seasoning and adjust to taste, keeping in mind that the rice is somewhat bland. If the bean soup is not as thick as you like, smash some of the beans to a paste for thickening. Do not use a roux to thicken.

Slice and brown sausages, or grill them whole or in serving size pieces. Your taste, your choice. Serve the beans ladled over cooked white rice, the sausage on the side and a wedge of cornbread, all accompanied by some blues, of course.***

*Trinity – equal parts chopped celery, chopped green pepper, chopped onions. I prefer green bell peppers and red onions, and chop the inner tender celery leaves as well as the stalk.

**Rice – Cover 2 cups uncooked white rice with 4 cups water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, and simmer over lowest heat for 20 minutes, then “fluff” with fork. Do not stir rice during cooking or standing time.

•Substitute finely chopped pancetta, ham, or sausage for bacon
•Eliminate the bacon, slice & saute the sausage and vegetables, adding all to beans. •Skip the side serving of sausage. For a lower fat version, use less sausage.
•Substitute grilled pork chops or chicken for the side of sausage.
•Use pinto or black beans. You could also use kidney beans, I suppose. I don’t like kidney beans, but if you do… use them.
Now for the blues***

Click here to listen to (or download) a sampling of the music of Huddy Ledbetter, aka Leadbelly. Click here to hear more snippets of some of his songs and Woodie Guthrie’s performed by Little Richard, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Sweet Honey in the Rock. That CD — Folkways: A Vision Shared – A Tribute to Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly — is one of my favorites.An updated recipe from the one I originally posted at Pajama Pundits.

One thought on “Red Beans, White Rice, and the Blues

  1. Donna,
    Gonna have to fix up a pot of this. Andouille, of course… I just realized that you are in Shreveport. Used to have family that lived there and my mother’s parents are buried there. I have some fond memories.

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