I grew up eating some variation of beans and rice. This continues to be a comfort food for me, especially when I need a taste of home, or when we have a rainy day. (Now that we are back in the Seattle area, we have many of those!)
It’s been years since I have used a real recipe, but I will do my best to walk you through how I make my beans. Or, you can check out Gumbo Pages for their version of Red Beans and Rice.
Red Beans and Rice
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- Tony Chachere’s to taste (or salt, black and cayenne pepper, if you don’t have Tony’s)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ham hocks
- 3-4bay leaves
- 2 t herbs de Provence
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
- 1 can of tomato paste (this is optional, but I like it.)
- 1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris
- green onions for garnish
- **Sliced, Smoked Sausage** (Sometimes, I add this, too.)
Sort beans and soak overnight, or do a quick soak.
In a dutch oven pot, pour in oil and heat. Saute onions, celery, bell peppers until soft. Add garlic and saute, but do not burn. Add ham hocks. (Yes, you need these!) Add beans and water to just cover beans. Add seasonings and tomato paste. Stir. Increase heat until water is boiling. Turn heat down. Cover and simmer for aprx. 2 -2.5 hours, or until beans are tender. Check on beans after about 2 hours. Once they are tender, taste seasonings to see if you need to adjust. Add as necessary. At this point, the beans should be broken down a bit. If not, use a potato masher to mash them just a little. Or take out about 2 cups of the mixture and blend, pouring back into the pot. This just makes a creamy consistency.
Serve over steamed rice. (White is more traditional, but I use brown rice now.) Garnish with green onions. Also, cornbread is really good with this meal and is what I remember growing up. Adding cheese and some diced jalapenos to the cornbread batter is so good, too.
This is such a good comfort food and healthy, too. You can leave out the ham hocks for a vegan meal, but they really do add tons of flavor. Also, in place of the tomato paste, you can add a can of diced tomatoes, if you prefer.