Thursday, April 22, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

For those who speak Duncan Dining Hall, it would be artillery and maggots. This is what my kids call it and how the bags for the freezer get labeled. Yes, we are weird.

My family roots on my dad's side are about as Cajun as they come. My great grandparents owned half of Breaux Bridge, LA until the Great Depression took most of it. My grandma grew up playing the piano in the movie theater during the silent movies. I miss her. She's been gone for nearly 17 years, but it still seems like yesterday. She'd be proud of me for cooking the Cajun food, stretching a dollar, and most importantly, for taking care of my dad.

Tonight, we had red beans & rice for dinner. Traditionally, this would be made on Mondays while laundry was done (by hand, mind you). Now, we have this modern technology called a washer and dryer that greatly expedite the chore. Laundry day is not what it was back then. When I make this one, I double it so that there are leftovers for the freezer. If you double it, don't use more than 16 cups of liquid.

1/2 lb. ham or 1 lb. smoked sausage
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
cayenne pepper
bay leaves
1 lb. red beans
chicken stock
water (total 10 cups)

Chop ham or sausage. Cook through. Add in onion, celery, and garlic. For my double batch, I use an entire head of garlic. When the veggies are soft, add in seasonings (tobasco, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, and parsley). Add in beans that have been picked through and rinsed. Stir in chicken stock and water. I use half chicken stock, half water. Simmer for several hours. During the last hour or so of cooking, smash a few beans and stir. This helps to thicken the sauce.

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