After returning from New Orleans on a Monday morning, I decided to make red beans and rice that night. Everyone knows Monday is red beans and rice day!
Understand that cooking red beans is a process. You must soak your beans for at least 4 to 8 hours; some people do this overnight. Just be sure to do so in a large bowl and with enough water because the beans expand when soaking up the water.
Red Beans and Rice
Here's what you need:
- Red kidney beans
- Smoked sausage
- The “Holy Trinity” which is diced onions, celery and bell peppers (I purchase them pre-cut while I was home)
- Bay leaves
- Creole seasoning
After your beans have soaked, rinse them and put into a pot. Add fresh water and a bay leaf or two (I added way too many in the picture below). Allow the beans to come to a simmer while stirring and adding a little bit of water every few minutes. After about a half hour, add your Holy Trinity and seasoning. Please don’t let the beans thicken just yet, you want them to be watery until about the last 15 minutes.
Allow the seasoning to cook with the beans for about 15 minutes to a half hour, then add the smoked sausage.
Cover the pot and allow your beans to cook for a total of 2 and half hours or until soft. If you desire a creamier texture of red beans, mash them as you stir.
Before serving, remove the bay leaf or leaves.
While cooking your red beans, simultaneously fry some chicken and prepare white rice. Nothing compliments red beans and rice like fried chicken!
I found some people to be intimidated by frying chicken, but it's really not hard. Here's how I do it.
Here is what you need:
- Chicken pieces (I love wings for this)
- Frying oil (peanut oil is best)
- Tony’s Chachere’s Creole seasoning or Lawyer’s seasoning (sometimes I use both)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
My mom has this trick of taking a flame to the chicken to make sure all of the feathers have been plucked. Feel free to do this and then season your chicken with coats of each seasoning.
This method may be controversial, as some people prefer to use brown paper bags, but this is my method. Use a zippered plastic bag and double up on the bag in case there are holes in it. Add flour and a tablespoon of each seasoning.
Drop the chicken into the bag, close the bag and shake until each piece is coated in flour.
Heat oil in a pan or pot to 350 degrees F. Because I am only frying wings, I am using a pan, but a deep pot is always suggested.
Fry for about 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Once your chicken is done, remove and place on paper towels to cool and allow the excess oil to drain.
People plate their red beans differently. I like to top the rice with red beans. If I am making red beans, I am also making corn bread and fried chicken. It is only right!
The Chopping Block features New Orleans inspired classes often. Check out our new An Evening in New Orleans hands-on cooking class coming up at the Mart on Friday, October 5 at 6pm or Lincoln Square on Saturday, October 27 at 7pm. We also have a new fried chicken and wine pairing class: Coqs and Corks coming up at the Mart on Saturday, October 20 at 7pm. You don't want to miss this amazing pairing!