Red Beans and Rice is a traditional Cajun and Southern American food. It’s made from easily available ingredients, and is inexpensive. For just a few dollars, you can make a large pot of beans which will feed up to 8 people by using the best electric rice cookers.
1 lb dry Small Red Beans (other choices are kidney beans, or pinto beans)
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
2 – 7 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed (depending on your preference)
1 carrot, sliced
1 15oz can of tomatoes
1 heaping tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
Olive oil for sauteing
Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
2 cups long-grain white rice
Soak the beans following the directions on the package. Usually, I just cover them in cold water and let them sit overnight, or at least 8 hours. Drain the beans, and rinse them well.
In a heavy-bottomed stock pot, add about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion gets slightly translucent. Add the can of tomatoes, the carrot, and the Vegetable Base. Stir until the Vegetable Base is dissolved. You may need to add a little water, depending on the water content in your tomatoes.
Next, add the beans to the pot. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of the Creole Seasoning. Reduce heat to low. Cover the beans, and prop the lid open with a toothpick. Simmer for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until beans are as tender as you’d like. Add water as necessary to keep beans from sticking and burning. Stir occasionally, and taste the sauce a few times. Add Creole Seasoning to taste.
When the beans are tender, remove a large spoon of beans from the pot and place on a plate to cool. When cool, mash the beans with a fork, making a paste. Add this paste back to the pot, and stir. This will thicken the sauce. When beans return to a low boil, they are ready to serve.
About 30 minutes before you’re going to serve the beans, make the rice. Place 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water into a saucepan. Add a dash of salt and a splash of olive oil. Bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat to low, stir, and cover tightly. Steam the rice for 20 minutes, without lifting the lid. Depending on the size of your pan, the rice may boil over. If this happens, remove the rice from the heat for a few seconds, but do not lift the lid. It will stop soon, because the rice will absorb enough of the water to prevent further boiling. When the 20 minutes are done, remove from heat and let stand covered for about 5 minutes. When ready to serve, fluff the rice with a fork.
To serve, place a scoop of rice in a bowl, and cover with the beans. This is traditionally served with bread. Cornbread is common, as long as it’s not sweetened. Sourdough is a good choice, and my family’s favorite.
Serves 6-8, depending on appetites.