Prep 24 hrs
Cook 4 hrs
This recipe comes from "The Gumbo Pages" and it's the best basic recipe I've come across. I tweaked it a bit to make it healthier by omitting the smoked meat and substituting liquid smoke and using the turkey sausage. I have put the traditional notes on the ingredients as well. It also has a very good Vegetarian version I will post. Once you have the basics, you can taste and tweak it to you and your family's tastes as the beans cook down.
- 1 lb red beans or 1 lb red kidney beans, dry
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 5 celery ribs, chopped
- 3 -5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, more to taste (traditional way use 1 large smoked ham hock, or 3/4 lb. smoked ham, diced, for seasoning)
- 1 -1 1⁄2 lb mild or hot smoked turkey sausage (more traditional is just regular sausage or andouille) or 1 -1 1⁄2 lb turkey andouille sausage, sliced on the bias (more traditional is just regular sausage or andouille)
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
- 1 -2 bay leaf
- as many dashes Crystal hot sauce, to taste or Tabasco sauce, as you like to taste
- 3 -6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere's)
- cooked rice (I serve it over brown rice, but traditional is white)
- Soak the beans overnight, if possible. The next day, drain and put fresh water in the pot. (This helps reduce the flatulence factor.)
- Bring the beans to a rolling boil. Make sure the beans are always covered by water, or they will discolor and get hard. Boil the beans for about 45 - 60 minutes, until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Drain.
- While the beans are boiling, sauté the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After the beans are boiled and drained, add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the liquid smoke (or ham hock), smoked sausage/turkey sausage, seasonings, and just enough water to cover.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook uncovered for 2 hours at least, preferably 3, until the whole thing gets nice and creamy. I taste the broth at around 1.5 hours and adjust seasonings as they cook down. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn't burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot.
- NOTE: If the beans are old -- say, older than six months to a year -- they won't get creamy. Make sure the beans are reasonably fresh. If it's still not getting creamy, take 1 or 2 cups of beans out and mash them, then return them to the pot and stir.
- If you can -- let the beans cool, stick them in the fridge, and reheat and serve for dinner the next day. They'll taste a LOT better. When you do this, you'll need to add a little water to get them to the right consistency.
- Serve generous ladles-ful over hot white long-grain rice, with good French bread. I also have a bottle of hot sauce on the side for those who like it spicy!
My Grandpa (from Cajun country) would have been proud of this dish! Just spicy enough; and the blend of flavors. bon homme! Made for Fall PAC 09.