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Red Beans and Rice
Every family in Louisiana has a red beans and rice recipe. This is mine. It is the one I grew up with, with only minor variations. This is comfort food on a cool Monday night. We always had this on Monday nights with corn bread or garlic bread as the only side. My mom would fry up the sausage and cook in the rendered fat.
Some families have long recipes — you soak beans and simmer all day in ham hocks. Those are great. They just aren’t what I grew up with. This is simple. It takes less than an hour. You make the beans and let them simmer while you get the rice on. Then you eat.
This weekend or, better and more traditionally, this Monday, you eat this. If you’re a vegetarian, leave out the drippings and sausage, but you can enjoy it too.
4 tbls bacon drippings or 1/2 cup vegetable oil (Don't use olive oil)
1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
3 green onions finely chopped
1 tbs all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (up to 1/2 tsp if you like spicy)
3 bay leaves
1 clove garlic minced
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
Melt the bacon drippings or heat up the oil in a pot over medium heat
Add onion and green onion. Cook till the onion is tender -- at least fifteen minutes so the onion is starting to brown.
Add the flour and whisk for about five minutes as the flour begins to turn color.
Add salt, thyme, both peppers, garlic and bay leaves.
Cook till the garlic is browned.
Pour in, unstrained, the cans of beans.
Fill one of the cans of of beans half way with water and pour that into the pot.
Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
Variation: thinly slice andouille or kielbasa sausage. Heat the oil and add the sausage, browning it and letting the edges curl. Remove to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1/2 cup of the rendered fat and proceed. Add the sausage back after adding the beans. If using andouille, you might want to refrain from adding cayenne to the recipe.