My Version of Red Beans & Rice, Plus a 300-Year-Old Classic
Ever the tinkerer, I fashioned my own deep batch of red beans. Since this is not quite a traditional Louisiana version I gave it my own handle. “Rufous” is the color of muddy red. I also give you two more exciting ways to enjoy it later in the week.
My love affair with red beans stems from this ancient recipe written in just enough verbiage to get you test it. What a beauty!
Serve over rice topped with some fried or grilled, spicy sausage
INGREDIENTS: Interchange kidney beans with red beans
- kidney beans – 1 LB or red beans
- brine – make a brine of 1 quart water and 2 TBS salt
- water – to cover beans by 1 inch
- bay leaves – 2
- neutral oil – 4 TBS, [or lard]
- flour – 4 TBS
- scallions – 2 cups, and/or red onion, diced
- celery – 2 ribs, diced
- bell pepper – 1 medium, diced
- chili pepper* – 1 scotch bonnet or habañero, whole
- Worcestershire sauce – 2 tsp
- Marsala wine – 2 TBS [optional, or dry sherry]
- pomegranate molasses – 2 tsp, [or balsamic vinegar]
- salt & pepper – to taste after cooking
- chives, parsley, or other green herb as topping
INSTRUCTIONS: I have great success brining the dried beans overnight then pressure cooking them, but canned beans can work
- Soak the beans in a brine consisting of 2 TBS salt to 1 quart of water for 8-12 hours
- Drain off the brine [do not rinse] and add beans to a pressure cooker along with the bay leaves, and enough fresh water to cover beans by 1 inch [if using pot method plan on a couple hours of simmer time]
- Pressure cook for 10 minutes [for kidney beans, if using red beans>16 minutes]
- Meanwhile, add the fat and flour to a large skillet and under medium-low heat stir often to produce a chestnut colored roux, 15+ minutes [don’t try to cook under high heat to save time]
- Add the veggies to the roux and sauté until the edges of the onion become browned; make sure they brown a little—that adds marvelous flavor
- Use a slotted spoon and add the beans to the skillet along with enough liquid to not quite cover the beans
- Add the chili pepper, Worcestershire, pomegranate molasses, [wine, if using], and pepper; then on bare simmer, covered for 20 minutes [final consistency should be stew-like]
- Remove the chili, taste for seasoning
- Top with chopped herbs
- Serve over rice or toast points
* Add whole chilies; I use a scotch bonnet for its sweet bouquet. Add it for the last 20 minutes of simmering. Smell the chili; it’s got a fabulous scent. Serve them to those who enjoy the heat. Also consider serving hot sauce at the table.
PLANNED OVERS: RED BEAN PIROLI: Piroli means to keep taking all your winnings and betting them again. Let’s sauté some ground meat, then add a can of crushed canned tomatoes, add in the leftover beans, simmer a bit to make a chili.
PLANNED OVERS: RUFOUS HAS-BEAN PÂTÉ: For a tasty appetizer, mash 2 cups of leftover beans with some minced scallion, garlic powder, soy sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and liquid smoke. Great on crackers or as a fabulous bean sandwich!
2022 Recipes by B. Hettig
RED BEANS A LÁ CREOLE: A 300 Year-Old Recipe
In southern Louisiana red beans and rice is traditionally served for Monday supper, ‘cause it’s laundry day and the cook (washer) needs a simple, but tasty meal for the family to come home to. It’s funny, everybody looks forward to wash day!
One of my treasured finds, A book of famous Old New Orleans Recipes Used in the South for more than 200 years, published in 1900. It starts with a “roux”, a combination of flour and fat that makes a flavorful stock and thickener. It is a memorable dish to get into your own meal planning regime. The flavor of roux and browned onions is a triangulation flavor bomb.
- red beans – 1 LB, sorted and rinsed
- brine – 1 quart water, and 2 TBS salt
- bay leaves – 2 [opt.]
- lard – 2 TBS [or oil]
- flour – 2 TBS
- scallions – 1 1/2 cups [or onion or combo] chopped
- salt & pepper – to taste
- scallion tops or chives – as garnish
INSTRUCTIONS: I brine dried beans for about 8 hours and then cook. This induces a softer, more tender bean. If you don’t have the time use cooked beans of choice
- Soak beans in brine for about 8 hours; drain and do not rinse
- Add beans to a pressure cooker and cover with one inch of water, and add two bay leaves [opt.]
- Cook beans for 15 minutes and then release pressure naturally for 7-10 minutes
- Meanwhile over a medium-low flame make a roux in a large skillet or pot with the fat and flour, by slowing stirring on occasion with a flat spatula until roux darkens to a chestnut brown; 15 minutes or more [don’t rush by raising flame]
- Add onion to the roux and raise heat to medium, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to brown; 5 to 7 minutes
- Add beans to onions along with some of the bean juice and bring to a simmer
- Taste for seasoning and continue to add bean juice until the dish has a stew-like consistency
- Top with garnish and serve over rice
Recipe adapted by B. Hettig