Saturday, December 13, 2014

Meatless Louisiana Red Beans

How could you not love a food that was supposedly invented by a gaggle of people with such a drinking problem that by the time Monday morning rolled around, this was all they were able to stomach? That's the tale behind this dish. The fine citizens of New Orleans have served red beans on Mondays for generations because by the time the weekend was over, this was the only food up to the task of soaking up all those Sazeracs. Note that cooking beans takes a looooong time--about 8 hours at my altitude (though a pressure cooker reduces this time to minutes) plus soaking the beans overnight. But cooking this dish from scratch is well worth it! So go fix yourself a French 75 and get into the kitchen! Serve with dirty rice

Prep time: 1 cocktail

1 pound dry red beans
1 large green pepper, chopped 
1 medium onion, chopped 
5 medium stalks celery chopped 
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce Tabasco sauce (ONLY use Tabasco, no other hot sauce is acceptable)
6-8 bay leaves
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tomato, minced (optional)
2-3 tsp salt (to taste)
1 TBSP soy sauce
Vegetarian Andouille, Kielbasa, or other spicy sausage (optional) 

Slow method: rinse beans and soak in cold water overnight before cooking. Fast method: Instead of soaking overnight, rinse beans and throw in a pot of boiling water. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 2 hours. Discard water.

Next, cover the beans in a pot with fresh water and bring to boil. Then add all other ingredients except salt and soy sauce. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cover. Stir occasionally until beans are soft, adding more water if necessary.

Stir in salt and soy sauce. Adjust salt and seasoning, as needed. Toss in your faux sausage, if using and cook a few more minutes. Serve over rice.

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