Red Beans & Rice
When you come from a family of carpenters, during the spring, summer, & fall months, my dad’s family would get together after work & on weekends to build houses for close family members to help keep cost down. The act of lending a “helping hand” was called “coup de main” (French Pronunciation).
When a coup de main was going on, family & friends would turn out in great numbers to help out, assist in clean up, & my job, to cook because when it came to the labor of whatever was going on, my dad would say, “Boy, having you around is like LOSING two good men.”
So, he said if I really wanted to help, go do something you do know, handle the food for the crew. Since it was a big crowd at times, I had to cook a meal that was hardy yet would be able to go a long way.
Some of the “well off” owners would keep the meat that could be cut into steaks & give the cowboys the entrails; heart, liver, sweetbread (pancreas), marrow guts, spleen, kidneys, tripe (beef stomach), & sometimes the tongue because they frowned upon eating the insides.
So red beans & rice was frequently prepared but changed up with different meats: fried chicken, fried fish at times, pork roast, bar-b-que, etc. Most of the time, the red beans were just loaded with different smoked meats, sausage, tasso, hocks, pork neck bones, & my personal favorite, pig tails. Coup de main (helping hand), a term & act that was used frequently when I was younger, but as time goes on, less & less applied.
Red Beans & Rice for 12-15:
- 2 lb bag of dried red beans
- 2 diced onions
- 2 diced bell peppers
- 2 cloves of diced garlic
- 2 chopped jalapeños
- 1 bunch chopped onion tops
- 1 bunch chopped parsley
- 1 cup vinegar
- 3 lbs of your favorite smoked meats or a combination of smoked meats
Soak red beans in water prior to cooking, cuts down on cook time & beans usually cook more even. I usually soak my beans in water inside fridge for 48 hrs, of course over night is sufficient but not necessary at all, beans will cook if started dry.
- Start boiling red beans on high heat along with onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeños, & cup of vinegar. Also add seasoning of your choice at present, season lightly to start, adjust during cooking until desired taste is met.
- Once red beans start boiling heavy for 45 min, drop heat to medium high & add smoked meat of your choice, sausage, hocks, pig tails, neck bones, etc., these take a long time to cook as well, keep adding water as needed until red beans cooked, which can take up to 3-4 hrs, sometimes a little longer, depending on type of pot used.
- Once red beans start to thicken, which will be 1-2 hrs later, drop heat to medium low & cook beans with lid on pot, stirring often as needed, also continuing to add water as needed.
- While red beans thickening, check the tenderness of beans by pressing with your stir spoon, (some beans cook faster than others, so check several times before determining if beans fully cooked), once beans very tender & gravy is thick, add onion tops & parsley, remove from heat.
- I like my red beans on the thinner gravy side, just add water to desired gravy weight (gravy thickness).
- Let sit 15 min before serving over rice.
*Can also be served with corn bread as a side, as well as meats, or fried chicken or fish.*