Red Beans and Rice
The traditional Monday night meal in New Orleans is “Red Beans n’ Rice” made with the leftovers from a Sunday ham. I make it often at home - not necessarily on Mondays but when I have nothing planned for dinner and need something quick and easy. I always have the ingredients on hand in my pantry and freezer. Shake a little red or green Tabasco® hot sauce on top and you’ve got a true taste of the Big Easy!
This is quintessential southern comfort food and a great dish to enjoy on Mardi Gras, Tuesday February 28th.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more if necessary
1 link (½ pound) Gaspar Chourico, diced (or andouille sausage)
½ cup scallions, sliced
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup green bell pepper, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ pound cooked ham, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 large can (1 lb. 13 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or two small cans)
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme or herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Cooked rice and hot sauce, for serving
In a little olive oil, sauté the chourico until browned. I prefer Gaspar brand chourico because it cooks up beautifully while releasing lots of flavorful sauce into the pan. Remove the chourico from the pan and set aside.
In the drippings, sauté the scallions, onion, green pepper, celery and garlic clove until the vegetables are soft, but not browned, adding a little more olive oil if necessary.
Return the chourico to the pan, add the ham, red beans, chicken stock, bay leaf and spices. Stir to combine.
Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the flavors have incorporated. You may add a little water if the mixture seems too thick. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Purée or crush some of the beans before serving. Note: Some folks prefer more whole beans, others like the mixture totally puréed – either is fine.
Serve in a bowl over a mound of cooked rice. Top with a few shakes of hot sauce and let the good times roll!