To get ready to watch the Saints win the conference title game and go to the Super Bowl for the first time ever, I decided to make a batch of Red Beans and rice.
I just happened to be in New Orleans last week for a work conference and stopped by a Winn Dixie in Slidell, LA on the way home. I picked up a some groceries I can't find local: Andouille, Camellia's red beans, tasso, pickled pork, and some Abita that isn't allowed in Mississippi.
I chopped one medium onion, 2 green bell peppers, and 3 celery stalks. This is known as the Holy Trinity in creole cuisine. I sautéed the Trinity in some bacon drippings for about 6 minutes until they were getting soft. Then I smashed 4 toes of garlic and added to the mix. I mixed that up and let it cook another 2 minutes. I seasoned with salt and pepper while they were sweating.
I then added a quart of chicken stock, a quart of water, a tsp of dried Thyme, about 6 ounces of diced tasso, 16 ounces of pickled pork, a tsp of creole seasoning, and rinsed beans. I stirred while it came to a boil.
Cover and cook for about two hours, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Uncover and cook slowly until it is the consistency you want, about 30 more minutes for me. I like them creamy, not soupy, but to each his own. Some people smash some of the beans to thicken it, but some people also use dried potato flakes. (Just kidding, I've done both).
I grilled some Andouille. I ladled the beans over white rice and garnished with some chopped onion, cheddar cheese, and a jalapeño pepper. I had mine with an Abita Pale Ale.
It must have worked because the Saints (formerly the "Ain'ts") won! Drew Brees owes me for that one.
A note about pickled pork: It adds a brightness and tang that can't be substituted. If you don't have access or patience to make it, add a tsp of red wine vinegar while sweating the Trinity and add a Tbl just before serving.