Red beans served with rice are a traditional southern thing, originating in (or at least coming to this country into) New Orleans and the surrounding area. Not only are they a traditional southern thing, but they are also a traditional Monday evening meal in the southern U.S.
They tell me that Monday was traditionally clothes washing day, and dry beans were something that you could put on in the morning and cook all day while you do other chores to be ready for the evening.
This past Monday, we were scrounging around the cabinets for something to put together for supper, and I stumbled upon most of the components for beans and rice. Here’s how I did it quick fast and in a hurry!
Quick red beans and rice
First make a roux – a gravy made from equal parts (by weight) flour and oil. I used sorghum flour and vegetable oil. Some folks use butter or bacon grease or olive oil. Put it on the stove and stir it continually until it is a medium brown (you want to get rid of the raw flour taste). If you burn it, throw it out and start over because there is no rescuing it.
Once the roux is ready, if you do not stop it from cooking it will continue to brown and burn. The best way to stop it from cooking is to drop in the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking – diced celery, bell pepper, and onion – and stir. The veggies will cool the roux enough to keep it from burning.
The combination of roux and trinity will turn into a chunky paste, which you then thin down with a large volume of water, chicken stock, or beer and drop in 1-2 pounds of beans. We usually use some combination of red kidney beans, pinto beans, and/or black beans.
For Monday’s meal I used 2 cans of red beans and 1 of pintos – drained and washed. I would have preferred it with about twice that volume of reconstituted dry beans, but I used what I had on hand.
For the coup de grace, I cut up a couple of links of smoked turkey sausage and dropped it in. Then, of course you have to add salt or Cajun seasoning to taste.
This all simmered long enough to cook a pot of brown rice (about 45 minutes).