November 01, 2009
One of the things about being in the military is that you meet a lot of people from all over. When I was in Desert Shield / Desert Storm, -- one of the guys in our barracks was from Mississippi. Quiet guy, and very big. You got the idea that he'd do anything for you, and you didn't want to cross him. Funny what you remember. I can see this guy's face in my mind, and I can hear his voice like it was yesterday, but for the life of me, I can't recall his name.
Anyway, one of the pearls of wisdom this fellow had gleaned from his grandma, was "...you wanna cook food that swells". (I believe this was one of her tricks for stretching a dollar.)
Well, dried beans swell, and rice swells, and both are very inexpensive. Couple that up with a handful of pantry staples, and some seasonings, and a few hours of time, and you have a classic comfort dish that will feed the troops. (or at least keep me in lunch & snacks for the week).
Once this is done, I like to slice and add either some kielbasa, or smoked sausage to it. You could also add some ham hocks while it simmers. The variations are pretty much unlimited.
Red beans and rice
2 Tbsp oil
6 Anaheim Chiles
3 stalks Celery
1 tsp Black Pepper
5 Cloves Garlic
2 inch square chunk of salt pork
4 Bay leaves
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 qts. chicken stock
1 lb red beans
1 cup uncooked white rice
Onion, chiles, celery & pepper
Until onions are translucent
continue to cook 1-2 minutes
Pork, bay leaves, herbs de provence, hot sauce, cayenne, chicken stock, & beans
Increase heat to high, bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover.
Cook 1 1/2 hours (+), stirring every 30 minutes.
After 1 1/2 - 2 hrs, remove cover, and continue to simmer until beans are tender and sauce is thickened.
Cook the rice.
Now, -- there are two schools on this, -- my preference is to dump the rice in with the beans, and let everything get acquainted. Other folks will spoon some of the rice into a bowl, and spoon the beans over it before serving.