Red Beans & Rice

Technically, this is Louisiana Red Beans & Rice, but being from New York, well. . . Anyways, here is a fabulous dish to eat no matter what side of this great country you call home. The dried beans must (I stress must) have a minimum eight hour soak prior to preparing this dish. The canned variety just won’t work. So start this the night before.

1lb. (this is about 2 cups) bag dried kidney beans
1 lb. Polish Kielbasa, sliced into coins
1 lb. of a smoked Creole sausage OR chorizo sausage – you decide how spicy
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 bunch of scallions minced – including the green parts
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 large cloves garlic (I used a large heaping Tbsp. of minced)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp. hot sauce, plus more to pass at the table

Bean Soak: Place the beans in a pot with a tight-fitting lid; cover with cold water and place in the fridge overnight. Next morning, drain and rinse beans and begin the dish, or you can place the beans in a bowl and just keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Place prepared beans in large dutch oven or pot that has a cover. Pour 2 quarts of water over and bring to a boil. Boil the beans for 10 minutes; lower the flame and simmer for one full hour. Add all the ingredients and bring it back to a simmer; keep at a good, steady simmer for 2 hours, occassionaly stirring and checking to make sure there is sufficient water to keep the beans “swimming.” After about 1 hour, mash a bit of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon – this keeps the sauce thick.

Add salt and pepper to taste, but only after it has been simmering well for at least 1 hour. Adding salt too soon will toughen the beans.

Make white rice on the side (and make plenty of it!) – place white rice in bowls, ladle the Red Beans over the rice and dig in!

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