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Monday, December 10, 2012

Vovo's Red Beans and Rice

Hi everyone!!

Let me just start this out by saying- I've been eating this red beans and rice my whole life. Ever since I started eating solid food, this has been on the menu. The recipe comes from my grandmother, who we called Vovo, though I'm sure the recipe has origins much earlier in time.

The recipe might at first seem like it has a lot of ingredients and steps- it really doesn't. If you just cut the stuff up, cook it, and add it to the pot, you're pretty good to go- please give this a try even if you think it's too much for you or it might not be great. I haven't personally made this recipe before (my mom has made it my whole life, and I never got around to doing it myself until now!), and I didn't have all of the ingredients perfect, and it turned out amazing. Simply amazing- such a delicious and filling meal, and it makes great leftovers.

Let's get started!!

Here are all the ingredients- minus the rice- I wish I had a better way to display this many ingredients, I might have to get some little shelves or something!

Here's the ham, water, and seasonings tossed in for the broth.

And the broth post-straining/post-ham removal, and ready for action!

Here are your onions and celery- beautiful! Don't fret about getting the amounts just right- just use an onion and some stalks of celery- it'll come together.
Here's the broth once you've added the sauteed onions, celery, and garlic, and the beans have just been tossed in.

Here's our Italian sausage cooking away- feel free to use whatever kinds of meat you like- make it your own!

And the sliced and cut up kielbasa, just so you have a reference as to size.

And here the red beans and meat mixture is ready to simmer- stir in the meat and herbs, then let it simmer, stirring about ever 1/2 hour.

Vovo's Red Beans and Rice
-1 ham bone (or ham for making your broth- i had to use some cubed ham)
-1 1/2 cups water
-1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup diced celery
-1 cup diced onion (medium sized onion)
-2-3 cloves garlic, minced
-3 tablespoons olive oil or veggie oil
-1 lb. red beans canned or dried- if dried pre-boil and cook the whole thing longer at the end to ensure the dried beans are cooked through.
-1 lb. Italian, mayo brand, or other flavorful fresh sausage (not in links)
-1/2 lb. sliced sausage like kielbasa or something spicier if that's what you like
-2 bay leaves
-1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
-salt and pepper to taste
-rice for serving over
-red wine vinegar to serve on top- it adds an amazing zing and level to this dish!
Put the ham bone, water, garlic salt, Tabasco, and Worcestershire in a large pot over medium heat. Let simmer while you do the next step.
Saute the celery and onion until cooked through and lightly browning. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute or two longer.
Remove the ham from the broth you made in the large pot, and toss it (this is just to make yourself a flavorful base!)
Add in all of the onion, celery, and garlic straight from the pan to your broth in the large pot. Then toss in your beans as well. Keep the broth simmering.
Use the pan you just sauteed the onions and celery in- toss in your fresh sausage, and cook until browned through. Pour it in the pot.
Because kielbasa is already cooked, you can either brown it lightly and then add it to the pot, or just go ahead and add it to the pot straightaway.
Once you have added the meats, add your bay leaves, parsley, and some salt and pepper.
Simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 hours at least, with the lid off at least half of the time to let it reduce. You can help the texture get nice and creamy if you take a potato masher and mash some of the beans in the pot. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve over rice. With plenty of red wine vinegar on the side- trust me, it's delicious.

This is the look you're going for after reducing and simmering for a few hours- a little creamy, a little gravy-y maybe- perfect!

Serve over some freshly cooked rice (we're partial to jasmine and other long-grain rices)

And here's the finished product, which does it no justice at all- this isn't a pretty dish, but it's a stick to your ribs dish that is easy, delicious, healthy, and makes great leftovers- what more can you ask?

Savor it!
love, rue

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