don't forget the bay leaves

Living in Louisiana, learning to cook the local fare is a necessity. I picked three common recipes to master. It's the best when you have family in town and you get to expose them to dishes they never make because they are mainly popular in Louisiana. Here's what we do:

  • Jambalaya- I found a recipe on the Food Network by Emeril and I figured since he's all about Cajun cooking, this would be the best. And it is! The ingredients are a bit pricey and you do need all hands on deck to make it, but it's yummy. The recipe here.
  • Gumbo- I'm waiting for fall/winter to arrive because this will most likely be enjoyable during cooler weather. I haven't tried this one yet, so we'll see.
  • Red Beans & Rice- Currently cooking in my house as I write this, after 3 years of testing and trying I have found the best way to make red beans, and a bit healthier too. Here's what I do:
  1. Soak the beans overnight. I usually put a pound of Camellia beans in a dutch oven covered in water and the beans will soak it all up so before I go to bed, I'll put more water in.
  2. At around 9 in the morning, once the kiddos have been fed, I'll cook the veggies. This includes garlic, onion, green pepper and celery. I include some parsley and I cook them with some butter until the onions are clear. 
  3. While I'm cooking down the vegetables, I start to boil the beans in the dutch oven after I strained them from the water they were soaking in over night. I will boil the beans in reduced sodium chicken broth. This was a key change I made, with a suggestion from a friend, and it really adds to the flavor. 
  4. Don't forget the bay leaves, I always forget the bay leaves. 
  5. Once the beans are boiling and the veggies are cooked down, I combine the two and let them boil together for about an hour or so. Another tip from the same friend is to have a boiling pot of water going so that when the water in the beans goes down, the boiling won't stop when you add more water. 
  6. After they have boiled for a while, I transfer to the crockpot and there they'll stay till dinner time on low.
  7. About an hour before eating, I'll start the rice. We use brown rice. 
  8. A lot of people add sausage or ham to their beans and if we ever do that, we'll just grill some sausage and put it on top of the beans once their cooked. 

Perks of this meal:

  • I make it every Monday so I don't have to think about what to make for dinner. It's a New Orleans tradition to have red beans on Monday. A tradition I like!
  • Avery LOVES this meal. She's a tad picky and she'll go to town on these.
  • It's meatless which is something we're trying to do here, and loaded with protein. 
Give it a try! It'll make your Monday not feel like Monday. 


sarah sawyer said...

Yum, want to try this (and we love some beans in our family...who doesn't love magical fruit?!) and such a fan of keeping up the same dish once a week...usually ours is a frittata or homemade pizza....though maybe this will enter the rotation, along with our fave fried rice to honor our time in Asia, and then i'll never really have to menu plan again, hallelujah! (p.s. tell Ken I drove by the Chapel's UTS stop and thought of him the other day!)

gabrielle belesprit said...

Yummy!!! My mom makes red beans with ham. It is really tasty and if you let it cook with the beans, it gets sooo tender.
That's cute that your little girl is such a New Orleans baby that she rejects most food but loves her red beans and rice!
Keep it up :)

Ali said...

looks yummy. i might have to try this!

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