My wife teases me that I’m from the South (of the United States). I have a ton of relatives in the Georgia, Florida and Alabama area as well as a bunch of friends scattered throughout. I was born in Florida and lived in the Atlanta area and throughout the South for about 15 years, However, I don’t hunt, fish or eat collard greens. The last time I drank Sweet Tea on an irregular basis was more than 16 years ago.
Despite all that, there is one dialect (if you will) of Southern cuisine that I love – Cajun/Creole food. If you want to know the difference between Cajun and Creole check out this link. For the purpose of my site, I guess I like Cajun food more. And a lot of that love of the food was the short time I lived close to New Orleans and Emeril Lagasse (more the latter than the former).
Now Cajun food was not a staple in my house as I was growing up. My folks liked “beans” as they called it. Think a big pot of kidney beans cooked all day with onions and then finished with corn bread – I hated it. Might be part of the reason to this day why I will avoid beans on a normal basis; the same can be said about ham. Sorry Mom! But when I was old enough and we were close enough to someplace that had a Popeye’s Chicken, I learned of the joys of almost-Cajun. Then I had actual Cajun food in New Orleans and I was hooked.
Enter one of the OG Food Network shows featuring Emeril. Bam! and I was intrigued enough to try to figure out how to make this Cajun staple! I still have a number of cookbooks from him and thanks to him, I learned the basis for what grew into my version. And finding regular ingredients for this recipe were much easier SOB (South of the Border). But here it goes …
Red Beans & Rice
1 lb. (450 g) dried red beans (kidney beans will work if you can’t find red beans)
2 large red onions
1 lb. (450 g) andouille (I had to use GF Garlic sausage as andouille is hard to find in Canada)
1 lb. (450 g) ham hock
2-2.5 quarts (2 l) chicken stock
1/4 cup (50 g) Cajun Seasoning
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp (15 ml) Olive oil
Rice (between 2-4 cups cooked)
- Rinse the beans and discard any pebbles or broken beans. Put enough cold water to cover the beans plus about two inches and let them soak overnight. Or bring them to a boil, cook for two minutes and then let them stand for an hour.
- Sauté your diced onions and sausage with olive oil and the spices. Put this mixture as well as the beans in a crockpot with about 1 quart of stock and 4 cups of water.
- I let the beans simmer over night and usually add another quart of stock in the morning. If you give them about 24 hours they should be good. If you can’t wait that long, simmer the beans uncovered for about two hours.
- Wash the rice in water. Put 2 cups of water for each cup of rice into a microwave container with the rice. Microwave on high for 10 minutes covered with cling wrap. Lift cover, stir rice and recover. Microwave on medium for 10 minutes. Let stand in the microwave for ten minutes. Take it out, uncover and set aside.
- When you think the beans are done, remove the ham hock, debone it and add the meat back to the pot. Take out the bay leaves and then blend the beans to give the beans a creamy texture.
- Pour over rice and enjoy.