Dried beans might seem too homey for some people, but our family likes them. From another standpoint, they are inexpensive, feed a lot of people and are easy to make.
My preference is large butter beans. Others in the family like pintos and black-eyed peas. Not many enjoy navy beans or northern beans, yet we eat those, too.
Most all of us enjoy red beans and rice. The only thing I do not like about these are the big red kidney beans. I was so happy when I found some small red beans, which are great in this dish.
I am not sure where I got the following recipe, but it is good. I think perhaps that it is a James Beard recipe. It is the only one I use when we want red beans and rice.
When we have dried beans of any kind, all we need to make it a super meal is some homemade cornbread, freshly sliced tomatoes and a generous slice of Vidalia onion. Sounds a little Southern, doesn’t it?
RED BEANS AND RICE
1 pound dried small red beans
4 quarts water
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound smoked Polish sausage, cut in 1-inch slices
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Oven Rice (recipe follows)
Sort and wash beans. Place in 6-quart Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above beans; let soak overnight. Drain beans. Add 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook uncovered 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Melt butter in large skillet. Add onions, celery, green peppers and garlic. Saute until tender. Add sauteed vegetables and next 6 ingredients to beans; cook uncovered 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding additional water, if needed.
Bake sausage at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; drain well. Stir sausage into beans. Cook uncovered 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley. Serve over Oven Rice.
1 1/2 cups uncooked regular rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped green pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash ground red pepper
Pinch of white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart baking dish, stirring well. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until all liquid is absorbed.
Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.