Red Beans and Rice

If you also read my column Be A Better Cook, you will have gotten  this recipe as a  bonus a couple weeks ago.  I described it as "hard to sell to a newcomer (or teenager)" if they've never seen Red Beans and Rice before. It's not really an attractive dish. So no photo.

But boy are good red beans and rice delicious and this is a good recipe. Easy to make. Fast too. With a multi-layered spice and herbiness that can't be beat. Even the sausage is cooked two ways to create multiple textures.

Classic Red Beans and Rice
Serves at least 8 hearty eaters

1 pound kidney beans, covered with water, soaked overnight
1 pound andouille or other smoked sausage, such as kielbasa
  -- The Texas-style sausages from Chappell Hill, Holmes, Meyer and other hill country purveyors are excellent for this dish.
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, including leaves if you have them, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups liquid, at least 2 cups being fresh shrimp or chicken stock the rest filtered water
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (I had to buy some just for this recipe - never, ever substitute this for real garlic)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (another pretty rare ingredient)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups cooked rice

  1. Slice sausage lengthwise, then cut into 1/4" thick slices (so each piece is a half-moon)
  2. Combine all ingredients except half of the sausage. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 1.5 hours. 
  3. Uncover and simmer for another hour. 
  4. Remove 1 cup of beans, returning any sausage pieces to the pot. Mash the beans until they make a paste. I use an unusual but handy tool called a dough cutter, which has five or six semi-sharp edges. It's a secret weapon in my kitchen used for biscuit dough, guacamole, mashed potatoes and mashing red beans. You can also use the back of a spoon to mash, but it takes longer. 
  5. Return the mashed beans to the pot, add the sausage and simmer for 5 minutes.Serve over rice. 

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