Cooking Louisiana  -  Rules for Beans
Beans beans the magical fruit... In South Louisiana beans are popular, especially the Red, White, and Lima varieties.

Beans are beans, many varieties exist, and, with different seasonings taste distinctively different from each other. We're not going to get into the science of that, but, the final outcome of the variety you will cook will vary. This is not hard to learn so listen up, it's just a few rules!

Meat..... you should have meat or meat flavor of some kind, or, you can use bullion cubes if you wish. Meat flavor just goes with beans no matter what the source. Ham hocks (smoked are best), salt meat, bacon, andouille, taso, sausage, ham;. I don't care...! Pork is better, beef is next... forget poultry..., BUT, I won't say that it can't be done! Be creative if you wish.

Vegetables... Onions, green inions, celery, parsley and garlic. Lightly brown the onions and meat.

[1 lb. of beans needs about 1 med. onion and 1/2 cup of the rest except the garlic]... simple huh?

Garlic... 1 tsp. fresh chopped per pound of beans

Pepper... Black, white, green, pink, doesn't matter... you need a little! Season to taste.

Thyme... just a little (a pinch or two)

Cooking methods....

Remember we're talking basic beans here... let's look at a few.

1. White beans
...a great "goes with fried fish, or Jambalaya" favorite here in South Louisiana. White beans are Navy Pea, or, Great Northern, beans you can find in most stores. The basics above apply. A few dashes of Worcestershire goes good with this also.

2. Kidney, or, Red Beans
... "Red beans and rice" is the popular title, but I don't know of many beans you don't eat with rice down here in Louisiana. There are dark and light varieties. Anyway, Red Beans are done with the basics above but goes well with a little tomato sauce (that's the Creole influence) and smoked sausage cooked in the beans and/or on the side. Red beans go well as a side for fried chicken also.

3. Lima beans
The rules above apply, and once more, can be done with fresh tomatoes (Creole).

All the other Beans
... be creative with what you've learned here... cook them for yourself before you try them on your guests! ha.... you'll do fine but give your tests a chance, be patient. You can break out your "new dish" any time you wish. Be smart, try before you serve.

Dried beans will take a little longer to cook than fresh or canned beans so give them that time. I've purchased different brands of dried white beans that actually took longer to cook, one brand versus the other. I can't tell you why but that's a fact; maybe it's the age.

We expect White and Red beans to have a little creaminess to them so we'll mash up a few spoonful's to accomplish this. Why creamy? To fit better over rice.

Taste... taste... taste.. before you serve...