Got my red beans cookin

As Marcia Ball sang…red beans and a ham bone.  Well no ham bone but I did use the Thanksgiving turkey stock for my red beans and rice.  This is the first time I’ve used this recipe from Southern Living’s Homestyle Cookbook.  I don’t follow recipe directions exactly, and you shouldn’t either.  They’re just guides to get you to the table.  Back in my mass quantity food days I was a stickler for having the production recipe followed exactly.  Home cookin is another story.  Here it is:


1 lb red kidney beans (red beans work fine too)

1 lb smoked sausage, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped (6-8 oz)

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

2 qt poultry stock (I used smoked turkey)

3.5 cups water

2 bay leaves (I prefer powdered bay leaf, 1/8 tsp=1 leaf – saves you from having to fish the things out of the food)

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

1/8 tsp ground red pepper

Hot cooked rice

sliced green onions for garnish

Rinse and sort beans; add them to a large pot and cover with water.  Bring water to boil, and boil for 1-2 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it set for an hour.  Change the water in the pot, add the 3.5 cups of water and 2 qt stock to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, likely 1-1.5 hours.

As the beans are near done, coat a frying pan with spray release and heat it to medium.  Add the vegetables and sausage to the pan and saute for 7-10 minutes, stirring so the food doesn’t stick to the pan.  For maximum flavor it’s important to brown the sausage well, but don’t burn it or allow the vegetables to burn.  The veggies should be soft and slightly carmelized by the time the sausage is browned.  Drain off any accumulated fat and add the sausage mixture to the beans.  Add all seasonings and the tomatoes.  Increase heat to boiling and then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.  The mixture may seem thin, but resist the urge to thicken it.  That’s what rice is for.   Plan to cook  1/4 cup uncooked rice per person.

Spoon the hot cooked rice into wide soup bowls – gumbo bowls work well.  Ladle the red bean mixture over the rice.  Garnish with the green onions.  Accompany with Louisiana style hot sauce.  French bread or cornbread helps you sop up any remaining liquid.  The book states it will serve six – where you live may determine the appropriate serving size.


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