Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
two 9.5-ounce packages dried red kidney beans or dried small red beans, rinsed and picked over
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, chopped
1 meaty ham bone or smoked ham hock, split (about 2 pounds)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon ground red pepper, or more
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 quarts cold water
salt to taste
4 cups cooked long-grain white rice for serving
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus additional for garnish
hot red pepper sauce as an accompaniment
1. Soak the red kidney beans overnight in cold water to cover by 2 inches. Or quick-soak beans by bringing them and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches to a boil over moderately high heat in a large kettle; boil the beans for 2 minutes, remove the pan from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain the beans in a colander.
2. Heat the oil over moderate heat in a large Dutch oven and add the onion, celery, garlic, and scallions. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
3. Add the soaked beans, ham bone, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 2 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer over very low heat for 3 1/2hours, adding a little more water if necessary, until the mixture is thick and the beans are very tender. Season to taste with salt. Remove the bay leaf.
4. Remove the ham bone, shred the meat still on the bone, and add it to the beans. Discard the bone. Mash some of the beans together until the entire mixture is creamy. For each serving, spoon 1 cup of beans over 1/2cup of rice. Sprinkle parsley on top, and serve hot red pepper sauce on the side.
A plate of red beans and rice, garnished with ham hocks, is the traditional Monday lunch in New Orleans after the Sunday ham dinner. But we think this recipe's too good to be thought of as a solution for leftovers. Serve it anytime! Furthermore, the creamy ooze of red beans that this recipe will yield needs no upstaging from a whole ham hock. Simply mix the shredded ham into the beans, and let the beans take their well deserved star turn. Serves 8 as a main course