Time is the key to making successful red beans: they need to cook slowly and well. Using flavorful fat is another secret. Just as my grandmother did, I keep the fat from every batch of bacon I make, and I save the fat that solidifies on the surface of chilled chicken soup and roast chicken drippings, too. Just a little bit adds big flavor.
From My New Orleans by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing
|2 onions, diced||1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper|
|1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced||3 green onions, chopped|
|1 stalk celery, diced||Salt|
|2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat||Freshly ground black pepper|
|1 pound dried red kidney beans||Tabasco|
|2 smoked ham hocks||3 cups cooked Basic Louisiana White Rice (see link in recipe below)|
|3 bay leaves|
Sweat the onions, bell peppers, and celery in the rendered bacon fat in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat.
Once the onions become translucent, add the kidney beans, ham hocks, bay leaves, and cayenne, then add water to cover by 2 inches.
Increase the heat and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and allow the beans to slowly simmer for 2 hours. Periodically stir the beans to make sure that they don’t scorch on the bottom of the pot, adding water if necessary, always keeping the beans covered by an inch or more of water.
Continue cooking the beans until they are creamy and beginning to fall apart when they’re stirred.
Remove the ham hock meat from the bones, roughly chop it, and add it back to the pot of beans.
Stir in the green onions and season with salt, black pepper and Tabasco. Serve with white rice.
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