red beans + perfect brown rice

On Mondays, in New Orleans, you can bet that somewhere, no, pretty much everywhere in the Crescent City someone is cooking a pot of red beans and rice. It’s a tradition from way back in the day when Creole cooks would put a pot of red beans with a ham hock on the stove to simmer as they went about their daily chores. Another comfort food for me, I love a creamy pot of red beans, but I serve them minus any pork with grilled turkey andouille sausage and brown rice.

First things first, you must soak your red beans overnight. The next day, drain the beans discarding any beans that look suspect.

Since we’re not using pork, flavoring the chicken broth with vegetables and herbs guarantees a delicious pot of red beans.

After you’ve added the red beans and they’ve cooked a while, they become tender and start to melt, I like them really creamy, so I tend to mash the red beans on the side of the dutch oven quite a bit, other cooks like the red beans more whole.

If you like, serve the red beans + rice  with turkey sausage and toasted cornbread.

Red Beans + Perfect Brown Rice

4 Tbsp. organic unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. sea salt
½ Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp. fresh oregano leaves
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 lb. small red beans, soaked, sorted and drained
Cooked brown basmati rice, recipe below
Grilled turkey andouille sausage, for serving
Sliced green onions, for garnish
Louisiana hot sauce, to taste

In a 8-quart dutch oven with lid, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the trinity: onion, bell pepper, celery and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sea salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano and saute until fragrant. Add the chicken broth, the water and heat the seasoned stock, about 3 minutes. Then add your bay leaves, red beans and bring to a boil. Cover the red beans, reduce to medium-low and simmer for one hour. Check the red beans periodically, mashing some of the beans against the side of the pot to insure creaminess. Cook the beans another hour or until the beans are tender to your liking. Serve each portion of red beans topped with ½ cup brown rice, turkey sausage and garnish with green onions and hot sauce. Serves 6-8.

Perfect Brown Rice

2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained
4¼ cups water
1 Tbsp. organic unsalted butter

Add the brown rice and water to a 2-quart sauce pan with lid and stir to insure all rice grains are covered. Uncovered bring the brown rice to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the sauce pan venting the lid slightly and cook for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover the pot completely and allow the rice to steam, about 10 minutes. Add butter and serve warm. Serves 6-8.

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