This is what I'm imagining this next few years is going to look like.
It's been so hot that I haven't been wanting to cook much. We've been eating light such as turkey sandwiches, salads, and fruit. Although, the other night I decided to make Louisiana Red Beans & Rice. If you're from or familiar with the New Orleans area you'll recognize this signature dish. It's traditionally served on Mondays. It goes back to when Louisiana was controlled by the French. Napoleon had sugar crops down in Haiti and during the slave rebellion most of the wealthy sugar planters fled to Louisiana. They brought back the red beans from the Caribbean. Red Beans & Rice was created in the kitchens of New Orleans French Quarter. It's roots are Creole not Cajun but over the years has become common in Cajun cuisine as well.
Now why is it served on Mondays? Women did not have the state of the art kitchens and appliances we are blessed with today. Serving a meal took many hours of preparation. Sunday was nearly a holiday feast itself and Mondays were a big cleaning day (scrubbing all the pots and pans from Sunday Supper). The plantations ran on a cooking/cleaning schedule and since Monday was a cleaning day they could let a pot of beans cook on the stove for the entire day while attending to their chores. It was just something that has been passed down from generation to generation. If you happen to be in New Orleans on a Monday and plan on eating out you'll see most of the specials as Red Beans & Rice.
GiGi's Red Beans & Rice
- 1 lb. red beans
- 1/2 lb. sausage (Louisiana hot links)
- 1/2 lb. chicken (I shred my chicken into bite size pieces)
- 1c. sweet onion (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 c. of chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 lg. bay leaf
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 c. okra
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Tony Chachere's Cajun Spice to taste (I use lots to give it a kick)
- 1 box of Zatarain's Dirty Rice or Konricko white rice (best rice in the world)
Place the red beans in a large bowl of water and let them soak. I typically leave them in the bowl overnight or 3 hours (if I want to prepare the same day). Remove bad beans that float to top and rinse. Drain water and place red beans in deep pot with 6 cups of chicken broth. Bring to boil and remove from heat, cover and let set for 2 hours. Put back on stove at moderate to low heat.
Cook sausage and chicken separately in a large skillet. While meats are cooking, saute in virgin olive oil, sweet onion, celery, and okra. Sprinkle a dab of garlic powder over the vegetables. After vegetables are fully sauteed add them to the beans and broth. Also, add the sausage and chicken and cook on low heat.
Meanwhile, add your spices and bay leaf. Stir occasionally every 2-3 hours, until beans are tender. Cook rice in rice cooker according to directions. Serve hot over rice.
HOPE Y'ALL ENJOY!!!