Friday, August 27, 2010

Red Beans and Rice Rice Baby

I briefly lived in Louisiana so that makes me an expert on all things Cajun. Not. When some people hear the phrase "red beans and rice" they think, "eww, is that really whats for dinner?" Not my family, we are all about the beans and the rice coming together and having a party. Lucky for my parents beans and rice are both cheap, so it is easy to feed a lot of kids for a little money. Seriously, just open a can of black beans, or navy beans, or kidney beans...serve it over rice and we are all happy campers. We actually couldn't wait for Lent so we had more reasons to eat beans and not meat. What is wrong with us?

Sometimes when we make beans we would add andouille, or some kind of sausage to jazz it up a bit. I actually put some andouille in my cart at the store specifically for this dish but just couldn't bring myself to buy it. I seriously sat there for 20 minutes putting it in and out of my was almost as bad as me taking a left turn onto a busy bueno. My "moral" dilemma was that I try to steer clear of things with added nitrates in them...if you don't know what "nitrates" are I won't even try to explain them to google it. All I can say is they are bad for you. So, we try to buy uncured bacon which is nitrate free. Anyway, at the end of the day I walked away from the wonderful nitrate laden andouille and picked up uncured bacon instead...and because of this I will rest easy tonight knowing I made a healthy decision. Go me.

Have I sung praises of "short" grain brown rice yet? I am pretty sure I have, so just to be clear...BUY SHORT GRAIN BROWN is soooooooooooo good. A rice by any other name would taste so bland...darn now I have to quote some Will...this can also pertain to the love between beans and rice and not just Romeo and Juliet...

"Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee Take all myself." - Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare

So basically what matters is what something is, not what it is called. So rice may be called "rice"...but is it good rice?

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound dried red beans
8 slices bacon chopped

1 large onion diced

4 cloves garlic diced fine
1 jalapeno diced fine
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
4 cups chicken stock
6-8 cups water
1 TBS dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

Rinse dried beans and then soak in water 8-12 hours. Drain and rinse. In large stock pot brown bacon until cooked. Add onion and jalapeno and saute over medium/high heat until caramelized and soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add vinegar to pan and stir. Add dried beans and liquids. Cook over medium heat 2-3 hours until beans are tender. Stir occasionally. Add spices and seasonings. Serve over rice.

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