Red Beans & Rice



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 until they are tender, but not falling apart, around an hour.

While the beans are boiling, sauté the onions, celery, and bell pepper until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. After the beans are boiled (save the water), add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the ham hock or shank (or ham or pickle meat), smoked sausage, seasonings, and just enough water to cover, if more is needed.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours at least, preferably 3, until creamy. This should not be a watery sauce, but it shouldn't be as thick as refried beans either. 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.)

Let the beans cool, stick them in the fridge, and reheat and serve for dinner the next day.

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