In New Orleans, it is a tradition for restaurants and home cooks to make Red Beans and Rice on Mondays. The tradition started in a time when ham was a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. Cooks would use the Ham hock leftover from Sunday to flavor the beans and a pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. While I don't ever remember my momma scrubbing any clothes, we did in fact have Red Beans and Rice every single Monday of my childhood. This may seem like a bit of an exaggeration, but I assure you it isn't. I don't know if my mom was really that much of a traditionalist but I tend to believe that the steadiness had a lot to do with my daddy. He is a creature of habit and he is less than enthusiastic about change when it comes to eating. He likes things a certain way and I am sure he would have been devastated if my mom had served anything other than Red Beans on a Monday. Now that all of their kids have grown up and moved out of the house, my mom rarely will cook a pot of Red Beans. But I guarantee that if you give my dear old dad a call on any given Monday he will tell you that is what he ate for lunch at a restaurant around town. Maybe I am just a Daddy's girl, but I find predictability very endearing! Since I have had my own house I haven't attempted to make Red Beans, so I broke out my Cooking Light Magazine and my washboard and got started. I liked that Cooking light offered up a healthier version to this childhood/New Orleans classic and I paired it with brown rice to introduce some whole grains to the meal. Although this dish is very time consuming, it was simple, very cheap to make, and very delicious! (We also ate Popeye's Chicken every Sunday while we watched the New Orleans Saints play - so Monday wasn't our only dedicated meal day of the week).
Red Beans and Rice with Smoke Turkey Sausage
Cooking Light 2007
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in beans, 10 cups water, and the next 4 ingredients (through sausage); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours (I found that it took about 3 hours) or until bean mixture thickens. (I also took about 1 cup of the beans and smashed them with the back of my cooking spoon against the pot to help the gravy thicken). Serve over rice. Garnish with green onions, if desired.