Saturday, February 13, 2010
Red Beans & Rice
Yesterday, I started soaking 1-1/2# of pinto beans. Changed the water three times before draining it and placing the beans in a pot. To this I added water, turned the burner on medium and simmered the pintos for two hours. The smell of cooked pintos intoxicates me. I could eat them plain but I'd promised the guys I'd make MY VERSION of Red Beans & Rice.
I don't measure ingredients or follow recipes so cooking is an adventure - usually a delicious one! There are probably as many versions of Red Beans & Rice as there are cooks but the once constant in my version is pintos. Here's a rough approximation of mine:
1-1/2# dried pinto beans, soaked for 24 hours. Chang the water three times while soaking. Drain pintos and place them in a huge pot, add water until it rises one inch above the beans. Let simmer for two hours, checking often and adding more water as needed. In a separate pan, saute one large chopped onion, one finely sliced large garlic bulb, and about a cup of diced, raw salt pork. I add about a cup of the pinto liquid to the saute pan about three minutes into sauteing the onion, garlic and salt pork. Place a cover on the saute pan, let this simmer a few minutes and turn it off. In another pan cook 3-4 cups of Jasmine rice according to package directions. Then add rice and onion/garlic mixture to the pintos and mix well. I season the beans with one tablespoon of red pepper flakes and 1-1/2 teaspoons of cumin.
I prefer my Red Beans & Rice "dry", meaning I drain most of the pinto liquid from the pan before adding the rice and garlic/onion mixture. The pinto liquid is reserved and heated at serving time in case anyone wants their beans "wetter."
At other times I have used black beans, Jacob's cattle beans and kidney beans. Sometimes I'll add leftover diced pork chop or cooked, sliced pieces of brats. But the original version listed above is my favorite. I've used regular long grain white rice but, Jasmine is my favorite and usually reserved for this dish.
The versatility of beans and rice allows for plenty of experimentation. So don't be afraid to create your own recipes.
We were all invited to dinner last night courtesy of my oldest son. After his whitefish dinner he looked at me and said: "You know, I used to think it was kinda boring growing up on beans and rice but lately I'm craving them."
I smiled and said we were having Red Beans & Rice today. He asked me to save him some. Made me feel kinda good.