It’s difficult to keep your body healthy when your pantry isn’t being a good role model. Spring is a great time to freshen up and get organized. First, get rid of those trigger junk foods that you crave and CAN’T NOT EAT! Next, stock up with the things that will help you develop healthful habits. By having the things you need readily available, you can put together a meal even if you were unable to grocery shop for the week. Rice and beans, or a basic Italian pasta dish can quickly be pulled together on one of those last-minute evenings.
I’m from New Orleans. My mom was the Food Editor of The Times-Picayune (the New Orleans newspaper) for 20 years. She’s also a cookbook author and food writer for New Orleans Magazine. This is her recipe. It’s a traditional recipe and includes ham hocks and sausage. If you’d like to keep it more figure-friendly, you can omit those things or use some lean ham instead.
Red Beans and Rice
Recipe courtesy of Dale Curry
Serves 8 to 10
- 1 pound dried kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 ham bone with some ham on it, preferably, or 2 ham hocks or ½ pound ham chunks
- 1 pound smoked sausage
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Long-grain white rice, cooked according to package directions
- Cover beans with water and soak overnight.
- In a large heavy pot, heat oil and sauté white onions, pepper, celery and garlic. Drain beans and add to pot along with water, seasonings and ham. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- There are two ways to use the sausage for this dish. You can cut the sausage into ¼-inch circles or into 3-inch lengths. Either way, brown in a skillet on all sides. This eliminates some fat. The sausage can be added to the beans at any time or served on the side of beans and rice. I prefer to add the ¼-inch circles toward the end of cooking.
- When beans are done, smash some along the side of the pot with your spoon. This will thicken the beans. Remove bay leaves, adjust seasonings and add parsley and green part of onions.
- Serve over rice with hot sauce on the side.