It’s been a long, hot and dry, dry, dry, dry summer so far. So the first all-day long rainstorm of the summer called for something special: a warm, filling dish of red beans and rice!
Oliver of course, a finicky four-year old, loves any combination of beans and rice, so this was an immediate hit for him.
Our beans start with an overnight soaking in heavily salted cold water. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t toughen the beans, it doesn’t even extend the cooking time. In fact, it makes the beans so creamy when you bite into one, eating the bean is an experience in itself!
Since this is red beans, we exclusively use kidney beans (well not exclusively but sure, I had a big bag of them hanging out in the pantry from a not-so-recent trip to Arthur’s Beachy’s Bulk Foods Grocery).
And from this place, you do need to actually look for stones in your beans!
Use enough to satisfy your eyes and stomach.
Grab that big back of rice from the back of your pantry and get out a measuring cup. Yes, in this case a cup of rice is what I go with, mainly because the measuring cup is convenient to transfer the rice from the bag to the pot.
Use water, use stock, use whatever liquid you feel like. We went with a jar of homemade pork stock and another half-a-bowl full of water. This is the stock we’d made a week ago from some heavily roasted pork ends that were left over from a great party.
Andouille sausage or something similarly delicious and fatty.
The Other Stuff
Season with salt, pepper, bay leaves, a few hot chilis (or none), pork fat, celery (diced), onion (diced), green pepper (two tiny ones from the garden), a tomato, thyme, and the other stuff you think might be good and have on hand.
All of this stuff gets sautéed in a dutch oven on the stove at the beginning, adding the water then the beans and rice last. Bring it up to a boil and throw the lid on and toss it in the oven at 350 degrees.
Cook it for 35 to 45 minutes, remove, serve, enjoy.