Red Beans and Rice

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  • 1 pound red kidney beans, dry
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 ribs celery, chopped
  • As much garlic as you like
  • 1 large smoked ham hock or 3/4 pound Creole-style pickled pork or 3/4 pound smoked ham, diced for seasoning
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds mild or hot andouille sausage, sliced on the bias
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • As many dashes of hot sauce as you like, to taste
  • A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Creole seasoning, to taste or red pepper and black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

It's not necessary to soak the beans overnight, but you can if you want to. If you do, drain the water and cover the beans with a double volume of fresh water in the pot. Bring the beans to a rolling boil. Make sure the beans are always covered by water, or they will discolor and get hard. Boil the beans for about an hour, until the beans are tender but not falling apart.

While the beans are boiling, sauté the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. After the beans are boiled and drained, add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the ham hock (or ham or pickled pork), andouille sausage, seasonings, and just enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours at least, preferably 3, until the whole thing gets nice and creamy. Adjust seasonings as you go along. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn't burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot. (If the beans are old -- say, older than six months to a year -- they won't get creamy. Make sure the beans are reasonably fresh. If it's still not getting creamy, take 1 or 2 cups of beans out and mash them, then return them to the pot and stir.)

If you can, let the beans cool, stick them in the fridge, and reheat and serve for dinner the next day. They'll taste a LOT better. When you do this, you'll need to add a little water to get them to the right consistency.

Serve generous ladles-full over hot white long-grain rice, with good French bread.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

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First, we have to start by making a roux:

  • 1 part white flour
  • 1 part vegetable oil (DO NOT USE OLIVE OIL)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat (preferably a cast iron skillet). Add the flour gradually, stirring constantly. You will need to stand over the stove stirring this the whole time. The roux is ready when it is a chocolate-to-coffee shade of brown, depending on your preference. The length of time will vary depending on the type of pot you are using and the level of the heat under your pot. It is important to know that in a heavy skillet, the roux will contineu to darken once you have removed it from the flame. Allow the roux to cool almost to room temperature. You can put the cool roux in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator.

Now on to the Gumbo!

  • 2 gallons water
  • 4 tablespoons roux (more if you want it thicker and richer, and vice versa)
  • 1 bell Pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole chicken, cut up
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds andouille sausage
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped, tops only
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

In a very large pot, boil two quarts of water. Once boiling rapidly, add and dilute roux. STIR! STIR! STIR! When the roux is diluted, the mixture will begin to foam up rapidly. CONTINUE TO STIR! Add the rest of the water and stir more. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, chicken, sausage, salt, black pepper and cayenne.

Cook over medium-high heat until tender. DO NOT COVER!

Boil rice.

5 minutes before serving add scallions and parsley. When the five minutes are up, remove the pot from the heat.

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