Cook the Book: New Orleans Style Red Beans

[Flickr: sashafatcat]

If the Super Bowl was a battle of regional food from each team's hometown, my money would be on the Saints all the way. While I'm sure Indianapolis has plenty of great food New Orleans has got the city beat by miles (or yards as the case may be). Muffulettas, beignets, po' boys, crawfish—the list goes on and on.

If you are feeding a big crowd this Sunday these New Orleans Style Red Beans from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn are the way to go.

This humble dish of slow-cooked kidney beans flavored with ham hock, hot sauce, and bell pepper is a staple of the New Orleans diet, particularly on Mondays both at home and out at restaurants. It's a humble dish but the flavors are huge and incredibly satisfying.

The red beans are a great make-ahead dish if you'd rather be watching the game instead of banging around pots in the kitchen. Beans, rice, a bottle of hot sauce and some grilled sausages are all you really need for this New Orleans-themed Super Bowl bowl.

Win Mad Hungry

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Mad Hungry to give away this week.

Cook the Book: New Orleans Style Red Beans

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About This Recipe

Yield:8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 ham bone end, ham hock, or cured pork product of some kind (2 or 3 slices of bacon will work, too)
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • White rice for serving
  • Halved grilled seared sausage (optional)
  • Hot sauce, for serving

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat a large pot. Swirl in the oil. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until soft and lightly caramelized, 11 to 12 minutes,

  2. 2

    Drain and discard the soaking liquid from the beans and add the beans to the pot. Pour in the fresh water and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

  3. 3

    Add the ham bone, Tabasco sauce, salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Continue to cook until the beans are soft and tender, 30 to 60 minutes more. (The time will vary depending on the age of the beans, so taste frequently.) Using the back of a spoon or a spatula, crush some of the beans against the side of the pan to create a slightly creamy consistency.

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