Beans and rice

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.

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 prudencehilburn@aol.com.

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