Get the original taste of New Orleans by cooking up some authentic red beans and rice. It's sure to bring out your inner Cajun!
Step 1: Soak beans Place the beans into a pot and cover with water. Let them soak for at least eight hours and then drain. Set aside for later.
Step 2: Heat grease and tasso Heat the bacon grease in a very large stockpot. Add the tasso or ham and stir constantly for one minute.
TIP: Tasso is a Cajun seasoned piece of pork shoulder butt. Although traditional ham can be substituted, it will not yield the same results.
Step 3: Add the veggies and season Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir constantly until the vegetables are soft.
Step 4: Add spices, hocks, and sausage Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks to the pot. Stir until the sausage and hocks are browned.
TIP: If you don't see ham hocks in your grocer's deli case, just ask. Many times the butcher will have some in the back.
Step 5: Add garlic Stir in the garlic and allow to cook for one minute.
Step 6: Add beans and stock Pour the beans and chicken stock into the pot and bring to a boil.
Step 7: Reduce heat and simmer Reduce the heat on the pot and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for two hours or until it is thickened and the beans are tender. Stir every 20 minutes.
TIP: Add an additional 1/4 cup water to the pot if the beans thicken too much. They should be about the consistency of a thick soup.
Step 8: Mash beans Remove the pot from heat and mash about one quarter of the beans against the side of the pot with a spoon.
Step 9: Return to heat Return the pot to the burner and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Remove from heat and take out the bay leaves.
Step 10: Spoon over rice and garnish Spoon 1 cup rice into a bowl, spoon the red bean mixture over the rice, and garnish with green onions. Yell "Laissez le bon temps rouler!" and dig in.
FACT: Tradition dictates that Monday is wash day and red beans and rice day in New Orleans. Although the laundry no longer needs to be hand washed, red beans and rice are still celebrated on the first day of the week.