Red beans and rice was traditionally prepared in New Orleans every Monday, on laundry day.
Grown in Colonial America, kidney beans were cultivated by Acadian farmers in Louisiana in the late 1700s. Perfect for simmered dishes, red beans hold their shape during cooking, and are commonly featured in chili as well as many Indian dishes. When combined with rice, red beans are a complete protein source.
This classic recipe for New Orleans red beans and rice comes from Camellia, the Louisiana-based producer of dried beans, peas, and lentils.
New Orleans Red Beans
1 lb Camellia Red Kidney Beans
½ lb ham or seasoning meat
8-10 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
2 tbsp celery, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 large bay leaf
Salt, to taste
Rinse and sort beans. In a large pot, add beans with water. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
In a separate skillet, brown meat and set aside, reserving fat drippings. Sauté the onion, garlic, parsley, and celery in the drippings.
Add meat, vegetables, and bay leaf to beans. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until tender.
For creamier consistency, when beans are soft, crush some of the beans against the side of the pot with a large spoon.