Monday Red Beans and Rice
Makes 6-8 servings. Recipe is by Dr. Willard Dumas, of New Orleans (From “A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook,” forthcoming, LSU Press, Fall, 2015.) We all know the old story that back before the time of washing machines housewives kept a big pot of economical dried beans boiling on the stove while they did laundry on Mondays, hence, the modern connection with eating the dish that day. Like many busy local cooks, Dr. Dumas makes his red beans the easy way, in a slow cooker. But this recipe certainly can be cooked on top of the stove. And the beans need to soak overnight, so plan on starting the day ahead.
1 pound dried red beans
16 ounces (2 cups) Creole seasoning vegetable mix (purchased, or make your own with chopped fresh onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and parsley)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 large bay leaves
1 (1½- to 2-pound) package smoked turkey necks
6 to 8 cups water
2 pounds smoked beef or pork sausage, sliced into ½-inch rounds or serving-sized portions
¼ teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
Hot, cooked brown or white rice
Chopped green onion for garnish
1. The night before cooking, place beans in a large bowl, rinse well and cover with 2 inches water. Allow to sit overnight. The next morning, drain beans before cooking.
2. Place drained beans, seasoning vegetables, garlic, bay leaves and turkey necks into a slow cooker. Stir in 6-8 cups water, using less water for a thicker finished dish, and more water for thinner. Cook on high temperature 6 hours. Alternatively, simmer in an uncovered pot, stirring occasionally, until beans are just tender and liquid starts to thicken, about 2 hours.
3. Remove turkey necks and add sausage. (To remove some of the fat from sausage, lightly sauté before adding to beans.) Cook another hour. Smash some of the beans against the side of the slow cooker to thicken the sauce. If cooking in a slow cooker, cook another hour. If cooking on top of the stove, simmer a few more minutes. Remove bay leaves, stir in salt and pepper, and the dish is done.
5. Serve beans and sausage over rice and garnish with green onion.