Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cookbook Challenge - Week 1 - Red Beans & Rice

(I'm going to count Sunday as the end of a week for the purposes of this challenge, so even though it was a short 'week' for the year, I'm going with today as the end of Week 1)

Yesterday on New Years I served a spiral sliced ham from Costco for dinner. Of course that means a ham bone and leftover ham! Thad mentioned red beans and rice, and I've been wanting to make something from a cookbook I got on our trip to New Orleans in October, Gumbo Shop : A New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook.

This was my first time making red beans and rice, so I followed the recipe carefully. The only adjustment I made was only using 1 TB of canola oil to cook up the veggies in a nonstick pan instead of the 1/4 cup the recipe called for. It was plenty! It came together rather easily and smelled delicious. Luckily it also tasted great too - in fact Thad claims it was better than the red beans and rice that we had at the actual Gumbo Shop restaurant in New Orleans.

Red Beans and Rice
serves 6

1 lb dry red kidney beans
2 quarts water
1 ham bone
1 bay leaf
1 TB canola oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Rinse beans well and sort through them. Place in a large pot, cover with the water and soak in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (I did 6 hours and it was fine). Place the pot of beans over medium heat, add the ham bone and bay leaf, slowly bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Meanwhile heat 1 TB canola oil in a heavy skillet (I used a nonstick frypan) on medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and saute until soft. Then stir in the garlic, thyme, sage, black, white and cayenne pepper. Cook for 2 minutes and then add tot he simmering beans. Continue cooking until the beans are tender. Add salt to taste. Remove 1/4 cup of the cooked beans and mash through a strainer, then mix back into the pot. Simmer about ten more minutes and serve over steamed rice.


  1. I sounds delicious, Jackie. I didn't get a chance to cook prior to Sunday so I'll start this week. Maybe I'll do two new recipes to catch up to you ;o)

  2. I had a yen for some red beans and rice last week - went into the pantry looking for ingredients - had everything but the red beans!

  3. I had to run out for those too Nancy. I had only 1/2 lb dry beans at home. im trying to cut down on those kinds of trips to the store with planning meals this week.

  4. Jackie - I have completed your challenge for the first time: