Over the years, (I would like to think that) I have mastered this New Orleans Favorite. After watching my mom cook red beans & rice for many years, I now cook them for my husband, his family, my co-workers, and friends. I apologize, up front, for the absence of certain measurements, but as you know, when cooking, sometimes we just eyeball it and then perform a taste test later. NOTE: I cook white beans the same way.
- 1 lb kidney bean (I only use Camelia, however, I know that it is hard to find outside of New Orleans)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 4 -5 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- seasoning salt (to taste, I use McCormick Season-All)
- salt (optional)
- pepper (to taste)
- parsley flakes (approximately 1-2 tbsp)
- 8 bay leaves
- 1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (I prefer Cavanaugh or Hillshire Farms)
- 1 lb ham, cubes
- 1⁄2 cup margarine (I use Imperial)
- Rinse beans (optional: soak overnight or for several hours prior to cooking, in order to avoid possible gas effects that sometimes result when eating beans).
- After rinsing, place the beans in the stock pot and fill 3/4 full of water. (The water will reduce as the beans cook). Bring to a boil.
- After the water comes to a boil, saute chopped onions and garlic in approximately 2 tablespoon of margarine, then add it to the beans. Lower heat to med-high and cook for approximately one hour.
- Add remaining seasoning, including seasoning salt, (optional) salt, pepper, parsley flakes, and bay leaves. Cook for another hour on med-high. Throughout cooking, add boiling water (and additional seasoning) to the pot, if the liquid reduces too much. Stir occasionally.
- Next -- this is the "magical step" -- add 1 stick of butter and cook for another hour on med-high, stirring occasionally. Watch the heat and adjust accordingly to avoid scorching your beans.
- Heat the ham and smoke sausage pieces in the microwave and add to the pot of beans. I like to heat the meat, so that my beans will continue cooking at its current temperature.
- Continue to cook on medium to medium-low, as the beans thicken. Stir occasionally. NOTE: I stay pretty close to my pot when cooking beans, so I can make sure they don't begin to stick.
- Serve over rice -- perhaps, add a piece of cornbread and ENJOY!