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Really Good Red Beans and Rice


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Yep, last week I made a batch using John Besh's recipe from "My New Orleans". The Prudhomme had been my go-to for about a thousand years, but I think I liked Besh's better. Funny, there wasn't nearly the list of ingredients that Prudhomme uses, but I think they had more flavor.

Or maybe the Red Beans God was smiling on me that day. Whatever, they were fabulous.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Besh eschews most of the spices and herbs that Prudhomme uses: white pepper, thyme, garlic powder, oregano, Tabasco. The two recipes have bay, black pepper and cayenne in common. No added salt in the Prudhomme version (as I recall, you don't need it.) Chef Paul calls for six hocks, while Besh settles for two. No andouille for Besh, either.

There are technical differences as well: Besh sautees the aromatics in bacon fat before adding the beans and seasonings, then cooks straight through to the end. Prudhomme dumps everything in at once, then does that two-step (or three, depending on how you count) simmer where he removes the hocks about an hour in and adds andouille 45 minutes from the end.

Besh garnishes with scallions, and removes the meat from the hocks, while for Prudhomme, the hock itself is the garnish.

Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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Besh eschews most of the spices and herbs that Prudhomme uses: white pepper, thyme, garlic powder, oregano, Tabasco. The two recipes have bay, black pepper and cayenne in common. No added salt in the Prudhomme version (as I recall, you don't need it.) Chef Paul calls for six hocks, while Besh settles for two. No andouille for Besh, either.

There are technical differences as well: Besh sautees the aromatics in bacon fat before adding the beans and seasonings, then cooks straight through to the end. Prudhomme dumps everything in at once, then does that two-step (or three, depending on how you count) simmer where he removes the hocks about an hour in and adds andouille 45 minutes from the end.

Besh garnishes with scallions, and removes the meat from the hocks, while for Prudhomme, the hock itself is the garnish.

Uhhhhh.

Yeah.

What he said....

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I saute the trinity in butter before adding the beans and smoked meat. Typically pork is used, and that's great. However, there are also smoked turkey necks around these parts, and an old cook I met at a meat shop one day told me that she uses the smoked turkey necks (have the butcher cut in 2-inch pieces) because her daughter doesn't eat pork, and no one can tell the difference. I made it with the smoked turkey necks (with the smoking, the meat is similar in color and texture to pork), and they were great. After the beans have cooked, remove the meat from the necks to return to the pot and discard the bones. Might not sound great, but it was, and something to try if for whatever reason you need to cook a dish without pork.

Rhonda

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I'm making RBR this week, with the bone from the Easter ham. I soak my beans overnight, and boil the ham bone the night before for stock as well. When I'm ready to cook, I'll brown my andouille and my diced ham and some cut-up chicken thighs (boneless, and I'll generally skin them, as well, since the skin gets soggy in the remaining cooking process. Then I'll brown the onion, red bell pepper and garlic (don't like celery, so I don't use it, but I use at least six cloves of garlic for a pound of dry beans). If I'm drinking wine at the time, I'll add a quarter-cup or so.

Here's where my version departs from the traditional Creole RBR. Drain the beans and put them in a pot with the aromatics, the meat, and two cans of diced tomatos and a can of diced tomatos with green chiles. Add enough ham stock to give you enough liquid to cook the beans. Season with paprika, bay leaves, salt and pepper, a few dashes of Pepperdoux or Pickapeppa hot sauce, bring to a boil and then simmer until the beans are tender. Add a heaping tablespoon of gumbo file powder and simmer for another 45 minutes.

Not the Creole version, but it's good.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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The secret to really great Louisiana-style Red Beans and Rice... 2 words... Pickled Pork (also called "Pickle Meat").

Most good recipes call for some kind of pork from ham hocks (too sweet for my tastes) to tasso or a Cajun sausage like andouille but the pickled pork adds all that necessary porky flavor and also a nice kick of acidity that really makes it all come together just right.

Pickled Pork is pretty much just what it sounds like. Take some 80-20 lean/fat pork (shoulders/butts are perfect for this), cut it into roughly 2" cubes and marinate it in a garlicky distilled vinegar/pickling spice brine for a couple of days (think Italian salad dressing without the oil and plus the pickling spices).

Add the drained pickle pork (be sure to knock off all the pickling spices) to the red bean/"holy trinity" mire poix (celery, onions and bell pepper) mess when the beans are about 1/2 way cooked along with your seasonings and keep cooking until the beans and meat are both are fall-apart tender.

Serve over rice (I personally like white rice but "Dirty Rice" made with chicken livers is good too) with warm crusty French bread, hot sauce and some good beer.

The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

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I saute the trinity in butter before adding the beans and smoked meat. Typically pork is used, and that's great. However, there are also smoked turkey necks around these parts, and an old cook I met at a meat shop one day told me that she uses the smoked turkey necks (have the butcher cut in 2-inch pieces) because her daughter doesn't eat pork, and no one can tell the difference. I made it with the smoked turkey necks (with the smoking, the meat is similar in color and texture to pork), and they were great. After the beans have cooked, remove the meat from the necks to return to the pot and discard the bones. Might not sound great, but it was, and something to try if for whatever reason you need to cook a dish without pork.

Rhonda

Rhonda, I am with you on the smoked turkey. I've used the smoked drumsticks in both red beans and bean/pea soups if good ham hocks are not available (sadly enough, that's often the case, especially in the warmer months around here).

Also, one of the local chains here (the least *up-scale* of the majors) sometimes carries smoked ham shanks which I MUCH prefer. More meat, less picky picking of the good stuff off the bones and out of the crevices and just as much flavor and good stuff as the hocks. But smoked turkey is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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  • 8 months later...

I've tried several recipes and variations, and the one I've liked the best (and made quite a few times now) is in a thread "Red Beans and Rice" captured in a file in the venerable CompuServe "Cooks Online" forum back in 1999. There are several recipes and lots of comments in the thread; my favorite is one submitted by Overton Anderson (the second recipe in the file, #883617). I've never had the smoked pork jowl the recipe calls for, but any well-smoked pork product (ham, neck bones, hocks, whatever) should work; I usually use some form of ham. IMO good Cajun andouille sausage is also important. And I usually use red bell pepper, not green.

Somehow eating this stuff always makes me feel satisfied-- real comfort food. It freezes well, which makes life easy when I'm feeling the need for some comfort food with minimal effort.

The same forum has quite a few more recipes (dating back to 1987) for red beans and rice and lots of chatter about the dish.

Dick in Northbrook, IL

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  • 4 months later...

There are tons of great red beans and rice recipes out there. And, frankly, I like red beans and rice so they're all pretty good for me. I wrote a review for the website of Buster Holmes cookbook. If you're not familiar with Buster you should be. He was truely a New Orleans original. His restaurant pumped out great creole and cajun dishes for many years. Here is his "world famous" Red Beans and Rice recipe. It's pretty damn awesome.

Buster Holmes World Famous Red Beans and Rice.

oh

Here's a video too.

beansfinished (43)CC600pxJPG.jpg

Edited by LJHdineSRQ (log)
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Things that, for me, make a really great red beans & rice:

1. Use small red beans (not kidney beans or other large types)

2. The meat component should be pickle pork (pickle meat).

3. Use the "holy trinity" in good measure.

4. Toast the rice lightly before cooking it.

5. Serve with lots of Frank's hot sauce and crusty bread on the side.

The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

BMR on FaceBook

"The Flavor of the White Mountains"

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Have been craving this for several days now so it is simmering away right now. I found a big, ole, meaty ham bone in the freezer. Can hardly wait for dinner.

Lacking a ham bone, I would go for the shanks over hocks. The hocks around here are little, squinchy things and don't taste very good.

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Red beans and rice is a staple for us. My favorite dark red kidney beans come from Purcell Mountain Farms. They are creamy and hold their shape and have a really nice flavor.

I find the most efficient way to make beans is to keep plenty of ham stock on hand in the freezer, and then it's simply a matter of using what's in the pantry. My ham stock is made with smoked shanks, not hocks; the flavor is equally good and there is a fair amount of meat that can be cut from the bones and then added back into the stew at the end, as desired. The other advantage of making and saving stock is that I can discard most of the fat before cooking the beans. The fact that shanks and hocks cost about the same per pound around here makes it an easy choice.

First I fry a few slices of bacon, to render enough fat to saute the trinity and garlic before adding the beans. (The remaining bacon is crumbled coarsely and added back for the last half hour of cooking.) Herbs and spices go in after the broth has come to a boil for a few minutes and the fire has been turned way down to a very gentle simmer. I use fresh thyme, cumin, oregano, rosemary and one bay leaf. I also add a couple of little dried hot red peppers, since I don't use any spicy sausages. The beans get cooked at a bare simmer, covered. At about the half-way point I add a splash of coffee, since that's how I've always done my cowboy beans, and it seems like a good idea for southern beans too. Isn't Red-eye gravy made with coffee? Salt is added for the last 15 minutes or so. I like my beans kinda soupy, not gloppy. I serve with minced white onion to sprinkle on. I think I got that from Rancho Gordo, and I'm hooked on it for all my beans.

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At about the half-way point I add a splash of coffee, since that's how I've always done my cowboy beans, and it seems like a good idea for southern beans too. Isn't Red-eye gravy made with coffee?

I've never put coffee in my RB&R, but I always do for baked beans. Hmmmm... I'm thinking... it couldn't hurt anything and it might make it better. I'm up for trying it. :biggrin:

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  • 9 months later...

On the matter of ham hocks. Normally, I use smoked ham hocks. Normally, I make such small quantities of the dish that one smoked hock will do. What if I am making the dish for a crowd? Is a blend of smoked and unsmoked (i.e. uncured) hocks a good idea or should I stick with 100% smoked meat?

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Out of curiosity, what would be the reasoning behind using plain raw hocks?

Personally I feel like RB&R should have relatively little meat, but it should all be very strongly flavored. To this end I have been making my own andouille and pickle meat for several years now, but I used to use smoked hocks to good effect.

I have had problems with overly gelatinous beans trying to scale up a recipe using hocks, might want to increase their numbers at a slower rate than the other ingredients.

eta scaling bit

Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I like the the Red Beans & Rice Recipe from Chuck Taggart's Gumbo Pages. It's worth the effort to start a couple of days early and make the pickle meat. Good Andouile and Meaty, Smoky Ham Hocks are worth their weight in gold too.

Also a critical element of the full enjoyment of Red Beans and Rice in my house is a Zydeco playing loudly and a liberal dosing of Sazeracs!

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It wasn't so much a thought of 'this would make awesome red beans, right?' as a random thought, one partly motivated by the fact that here, at least, smoked ham hocks are expensive. Of course, when I saw your comment I remembered I now had a freezer full of homemade andouille--and only a kilo or so of them will be going into the gumbo I'm making. I suppose at least some of the leftover sausages can go into the beans and rice.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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It wasn't so much a thought of 'this would make awesome red beans, right?' as a random thought, one partly motivated by the fact that here, at least, smoked ham hocks are expensive. Of course, when I saw your comment I remembered I now had a freezer full of homemade andouille--and only a kilo or so of them will be going into the gumbo I'm making. I suppose at least some of the leftover sausages can go into the beans and rice.

Yes sir, that's the way to go. And if you've got the means to make andouille, then you could presumably convert some of those raw hocks into smoked ones, yeah?

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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  • 7 years later...
On 4/4/2010 at 8:23 PM, Chris Amirault said:

Got a guest coming for a working dinner tomorrow and so I made a batch of red beans and rice tonight using some hocks I smoked and froze and a bit of leftover homemade tasso. Anyone else getting this classic on their table lately?

late to this, but I also put tasso down in my redbeans.

 

On 2/6/2007 at 12:32 PM, Mayhaw Man said:

Al Copeland Enterprises makes all of the stuff for Popeyes, and most for Church's, until 2029. It was part of his settlement when he sold everything after blowing the deal when he bought Church's Chicken.

The products-spices, wet mixes, dry mixes (think biscuit mix) are made at Diversified Seasonings in Covington, LA in a huge plant that was completed just before the hurricane.

Al is, well, a piece of work. His story is here, in case you are interested. He's unapologetically flamboyant but a seriously good businessman. I've known him, somewhat, for a very long time. I used to make beer for him, in fact, when Copeland's was serving house branded beer.

I also heard, years ago from a lady who worked there that they used ham base as well.

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1.  A smoked ham hock (cook it with the beans, pull it out, pull off the meat and shred, and add back in)

2. Andouille sausage (I prefer sliced in coins and sauteed, but just sliced or cut in chunks will work; also cook with beans

3. Chicken thighs (cook with beans, remove, debone, skin and shred, put meat back in)

 

No, mine aren't traditional. But they're damn good. I also add tomatoes, after the beans are cooked.

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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