Here's another dish that had to make an appearance on my Mardi Gras menu. It's a nice side dish, especially with southern fried chicken (in my opinion) and I wish we had that on the table for the party! Nonetheless, it was a great dish that really allowed the red beans to take center stage. I made this recipe from Alton Brown. The original recipe calls for the addition of pickled pork, which I omitted so I could offer a vegetarian option. I just might make this again soon (maybe with the pork) and enjoy it with fried chicken to satisfy this new craving I'm having....lol!
recipe adapted from Alton Brown
For the red beans:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 quarts water
1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris
For the rice:
3 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place the vegetable oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher.
Prepare rice during the last 30 minutes of cooking the beans. Place the water into an electric kettle and bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil place the butter into a 3-quart saucepan, set over medium heat. Once the butter begins to bubble, add the rice and stir to combine. Add the salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Carefully pour the water over the rice and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the beans over the rice or combine together and fold in to mix throughout.