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Nana’s Red Beans and Rice

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    8 People
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Family Story

This is the smell of home: my brother and I would come back from school, open the door, and be greeted with that warm, long-simmered smell. I'd know then that my grandmother and mother had been working at this dish all day (and maybe night too). My grandmother would stay with us 6 months out of the year, and then train back home to New Orleans for the other 6. She would always bring dried red beans, crab boil, and catfish fry in her suitcase... and I was always finding stray beans in her clothes. My grandparents owned a restaurant at the port of New Orleans, and my grandmother was the cook. At the restaurant, red beans is what she made on "wash day" (usually Mondays)--a dish you could let simmer all day, while you got all sorts of other work done, and then enjoy with family at the long day's end.


1 Step

1. Cook beans: wash and sort, add to big pot and cover with water, boil 2 mins. Remove from heat and let soak at least 1 hour. Even if you soak overnight, this quick boil keeps them from scouring. Do not add salt or flavoring yet. Add 1 tablespoon bacon grease or butter, a piece of slab bacon, or a seasoning ham with fat on it to keep beans from boiling over.

2 Step

2. After beans properly soaked in big pot, add ham bone, water, tomato sauce, garlic salt, tabasco, and worcestershire. Cook, uncovered, over low heat.

3 Step

3. In a skillet, saute ham and sausage until grease is rendered. Transfer to pot.

4 Step

4. To the grease in the skillet, add celery, onion, garlic. Saute until soft. Pour into pot.

5 Step

5. Add bay leaves, salt, pepper. Continue cooking for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until beans are soft and creamy. Add water while cooking if needed. Remove bay leaves, add parsley. Serve over rice.


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