Uncle Sidney's Red BeansCook: 2.5 hours Servings: 12by Amos Miller101 recipes>
There are two ways to go here: smoked meats (sausage, rib tips, neck bones, ham, country bacon), OR pickled meat. Either way, you'll obtain a rich flavor profile and a satisfying meal. One, warm, soft, and smokey; one tangy, slightly sharp, sort of barbeque-y, but it's always PORK and beans in the end.. My culinary mentor, whom I first met in 1987, Chef Austin Leslie, died in Atlanta following the evacuation of New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Chez Helene, a down home Creole restaurant enjoyed by knowledgable New Orleanians for decades, used to be on North Robertson St. and had to close in '95 because the neighborhood became increasingly risky. Chef went on to a couple of new ventures. But Katrina destroyed the dreams for many New Orleanians, and Chef Austin died of a broken heart, a forced expatriot in a place far removed from his beloved Big Easy. I have followed his recipes for years, altering little, sharing and delighting hundreds with his wonderful, flavorful authentic Creole cuisine. Following is a piece of American cookery, straight from the pen of the great, late Chef Austin Leslie. You pour your favorite hot sauce on the beans and rice at table. Enjoy it, as I have! You can substitute kidney beans for the red beans. The kidney beans will break down and become creamy much sooner than the red beans, which hold up for hours of cooking. In either case, unless you use a pressure cooker, this dish takes time. I never have to 'cream' some of the beans - I just simmer until it is a creamy consistency.
- 2 lbs. red beans (meaning dried: these are "small red beans", not kidney beans)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 8 toes garlic, finely chopped
- 8 sprigs parsley, chopped
- 1 Bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 lbs. pickle pork, (OR a mix of smoked ham, cubed, country bacon, andouille, smoked sausage, [OR pickle meat: see my recipe & make your own!]
- 1 baked ham bone, if you have it (sawed in several places then rinsed)
- 3 bay leaves [dried]
- 1 T. thyme [dried]
- 1 stick of butter [sweet]
- 8 C cooked rice [med.grain suggested]
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Pick over the beans before cleaning and remove any bruised or spotted ones.
- Soak in water overnight in a covered pot.
- Add diced onions to beans while they are soaking.
- The following day, strain and pour off water.
- Return beans and onions to pot.
- [NOTE: you can speed this up two ways: 1) by pressure cooking the beans, then finishing the dish by simmering on the stove top; or, soak the beans and onion (use a white rather than Spanish onion) in cold water for an hour, drain, rinse and start the slow simmer on the stovetop)
- Add all remaining ingredients to pot except salt and pepper and butter. (always be careful with the salt, with smoked meats & sausages)
- Add just enough clean cold water to cover everything in the pot.
- Simmer for 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
- Taste for salt, adjust and add the pepper
- When tender and creamy, add 1 stick of butter and stir in.
- Serve over boiled rice. (* The butter improves texture of gravy.)
- [Readers: if you follow this recipe as closely as you can, with all the time involved, and you obtain the required ingredients, I assure you that you will be tasting the heart of Creole cooking. Chef Austin always used white rice. Do NOT add any salt until you taste the product just before you add the butter: the meats will probably provide all the salt you'll want. I prefer to use just 'pickle meat', but I use the smoked meats when I make this for serving the guests. They rave. Bon appetit! - Amos]
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