It’s that time of year again people! The time that everyone on the planet can celebrate Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday even though we are in no related to or are in any way Catholic or a resident of New Orleans. It’s the spirit of the thing, right? I will admit to the fact that I have never, ever been to New Orleans, though I would very much like to visit at some point in the near future. My friend Kristen and I always planned on going there for a certain monumental birthday but…um….we didn’t. Maybe we’ll get there for the next big decade birthday!
Anyhoo, what better way to participate—other than drunkenly showing your boobs for some paltry plastic beads—than to make some delicious New Orleans-inspired chow? Feel free to drink yourself silly Tuesday night. And if you want to lift your shirt to unsuspecting spectators? Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone.
Red beans and rice, you’ll want a bit of time to prepare for this one. You’ve got to soak the beans overnight—this is definitely one instance that you don’t take the easy way out and use canned beans.
You have to cook it and cook it and cook it until that tough old ham hock falls apart. This takes a little bit of time. What’s that saying again? Something about good things come to people who cook their ham hocks for a long time, or something like that.
OF COURSE I never follow any conventional recipe or instructions, because I’m kind of a jerk like that. Instead of using traditional sausage, like andouille, I purchased some bulk Louisiana hot sausage at my local butchery, Morant’s Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen. You might not have a Morant’s in your town, so go ahead and use andouille or some other spicy sausage.
My only advice to you in this process. Expect it to take some time. Start today, maybe you’ll eat tomorrow. The longer this stuff sits in it’s most excellent juices, the better it tastes. Serve it ladled over some cooked rice and garnished with sliced green onions and before you know it, you’ll want to throw some beads in my direction.
This recipe really feeds a crowd–feel free to cut in in half if you want. The red beans part should freeze fine if packaged properly.
*Adapted loosely from my used bookstore copy of Louisiana Real & Rustic by Emeril Lagasse, 1996. A surprisingly good cookbook.