Island Senior: Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Posted March 1, 2022 at 8:21 am by

Hap­py Fat Tues­day! March 1 is the last day of car­ni­val, the day before lent, and a time for feast­ing. One tra­di­tion­al dish, easy to make, eco­nom­i­cal, and good for you, is Louisiana red beans and rice.

After the Hait­ian Rev­o­lu­tion of 1804 thou­sands of refugees of both Euro­pean and African her­itage fled Haiti to New Orleans. They dou­bled the city’s pop­u­la­tion and made an indeli­ble mark on the city’s cui­sine includ­ing the Hait­ian spe­cial­ty, red beans and rice.

Red beans and rice is a Cre­ole stan­dard that tra­di­tion­al­ly was eat­en on Mon­days in New Orleans. Mon­day was laun­dry day. A pot of beans could be left sim­mer­ing on the stove while the wash­ing took place. Tra­di­tion­al­ly the meat added was the ham bone left over from Sun­day dinner.

Today peo­ple add pork sausage such as Andouille or Tas­so ham for it’s smoky fla­vor. I’m mak­ing mine veg­e­tar­i­an. In the true spir­it of the dish I’m using what is on hand in my kitchen.

I’ve cooked up some rice and my beans are sim­mer­ing. Added to the beans are what is called in Cre­ole cook­ing “the holy trin­i­ty” — chopped onion, cel­ery, and bell pep­per along with spices, includ­ing bay leaf, thyme, gar­lic, papri­ka, and cayenne.

Cook the beans down until they get creamy. You can remove a small por­tion of the beans and mash them, adding them back to the pot to thick­en the sauce. Ladle the beans over a fluffy help­ing of rice and top with green onions, pars­ley, or hot sauce to taste.

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Categories: Around Here, Island Senior

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