Cooking Louisiana  -  Red Beans and Rice
Red Beans and Rice is one of the grand favorites here in Cajun Cooking Land. History has it that this was the "Monday meal" because Monday was wash day. Red beans are really simple to cook and they don't take a lot of stove time, hence, "the wash day dish".

You can look on the internet and find other Red Bean recipes and you'll see most of them use dried beans. If you're not a stay-at-homer your cooking window is probably short. Given that I'll give you a little hint; use canned beans! What's the best brand? Our favorite for years has been Van Camp's New Orleans Style Red Kidney Beans. No, this is not an advertisement for them but it sure qualifies! We've found that the beans are cooked just enough to allow additional cooking without turning to mush. You do want to cook them a little more to absorb your seasonings.

Preparing Red beans is simple...

1 lb dried or 6 - 15oz. cans of Red Beans
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery diced
3 cloves garlic diced
1 tbs. dried parsley
1/4 cup green onions chopped
1 - 2"X2" piece of Salt Meat or a few ham hocks
2 links of your favorite smoked sausage
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
Pinch of Thyme
Pinch of sugar
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Creole seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste

Wash the dried beans well and pick beans for bad ones and rocks. (If you're using the canned beans skip all of this) Soak beans in cold water until plump (softened). Drain water, and in a pot cover beans 1/2" over the top with water and cook at a slow rolling boil for an hour. Add water as you need to keep the beans covered. Do the following as soon as you get the beans on.

In another pan, sauté, on a med-low fire, the onions and salt meat or ham hocks until light browning occurs on the edges of the onions. Add bell pepper, green onions, garlic and celery and cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and continue to cook until the sauce slightly scorches (not burns). Stir often.

Turn the fire off under the beans and drain them. Refill the pot with the beans and fresh water to cover and put them back to boil.

If you're using the canned beans open them and put them in the pot.

Add all the sautéed ingredients to the beans, deglaze the pan you sautéed the veggies and meat in and add that to the bean pot. Now add all the seasonings except the salt and parsley.

Slice the sausage in bite sized pieces and add to the beans.

Add seasonings except salt and continue to cook on a med-low fire until beans are tender, don't let them dry out; add water as needed and stir occasionally (they will burn).

When the shells of the beans just start to split they're done. Take a spoon and mash some of the beans a few times on the side of the pot, this will make them a little creamy. Add salt, allow to dissolve a few minutes and start tasting. Add other seasoning to taste.

Serve on hot rice