N'Awlins Red Beans and Rice

4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil, imported
1 cup julienned tasso, poached
1 lb. Country smoked sausage, par-boiled and defatted
1 ham hock, also pre-boiled for tenderness
2 cups scallions (large bulb green onions), sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. Fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lb. Red beans (soaked overnight in 10 cups water)
1 pinch bacon soda
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Basil
2 tsp. Louisiana Hot Sauce
8 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water as needed
Salt and black pepper to taste
6 cups long-grain rice for tasting

First, rinse the beans well, sort through them, and toss out any broken or discolored ones. Then, in a large non-reactive pot (preferably stainless steel), soak them overnight in 10 cups of water to which you add a pinch of baking soda. Soaking will expand the bean, tenderize the hulls, and make them cook up exceptionally creamy!

Then, when you're ready to cook, take a heavy cast iron or aluminum Dutch oven, heat up the olive oil, and begin sauteing the seasoning meats. When the meats begin to brown slightly, toss in the vegetables and cook them until tender (about 5 to 8 minutes).

At this point, thoroughly drain the red beans from the soaking water and add them to the sauteed ingredients. Stir them around...but do it gently so you don't bruise the beans! Now cook for about three minutes, allowing the steam to expand the bean further.

Next add the bay leaf, tyme, basil, and Louisiana Hot Sauce, plus the chicken stock and the water. Then stir everything together well and salt and pepper the pot to taste. Go ahead and turn the fire to high and bring the water to a boil; but as soon as it boils, place a heat diffuser under the pot, reduce the flame to 'simmer,' and cook slowly for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours stirring occasionally or until the beans are soft and creamy.

Most New Orleanians cook and eat their red beans on Monday. But in all honesty, to attain max flavor they should be held in the refrigerator at least overnight! When you're ready to eat, ladle out a generous portion of beans over a plate of rice and crown with any of the 'topping condiments' listed with this recipe.

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CHEF'S NOTES:

1 To tenderize the beans but mostly to de-fat the sausage, ham hocks, and pickled meat par boil them all together for about a hour, watching closely as they soften and the hulls relax.

2 To make your beans even creamier, mash up about a quarter cup of the beans after they're cooked and stir them back into the pot. Or simply add 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the beans and blend it in well until smooth.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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