my first but not my last, red beans and rice
I knew on this trip to Montana that I'd be making Cook's Illustrated's version of Red Beans and Rice. I had this traditional southern meal in South Carolina in January and it was oh so good. When I got my CI in the mail with their version, I figured it was a good place to start. I also knew making it for Benjamin would be good- in that he's had his share of red beans and rice and he could be a legit critic. Well, I like this dish oh so much, and he approves as well. He agreed there is a good hit of spice that runs throughout, and the only thing missing was Filet Gumbo.
Although I had quick brined beans before, I decided I'd soak them in salt water the night before. The man pad I was in was lacking in salt but they turned out just fine. I found some salt the next day when I made them and they were great. For your notes, brine the beans in 4 quarts of cold water with 3 T. salt dissolved in there. You need to brine this way for 8 hrs, and up to 24. Before I go on, here's a list of ingredients. I know you're gonna make this.
Ingredients: this is what I used- loosely adapted from Cook's Illustrated
1 pound small red beans (about 2 cups) rinsed and picked over
4 slices bacon, chopped fine.
1 medium onion or 1 cup
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup celery
3 medium garlic cloves-minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. cayenne
3 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
8 ounces kilbasa
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
OK. Heat bacon in a large dutch oven until pretty much cooked- 5-8 minutes. Add onion, green pepper, and celery- cook and stir frequently until fully softened- 6-7 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook until fragrant- about 30 seconds.
Stir in beans, broth, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat- reduce to a simmer and allow to cook 45-60 minutes- stirring every once and awhile.
Stir in kilbasa and 1 tsp. red wine vinegar and cook until liquid is thick and beans are fully tender and creamy- 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle on more red wine vinegar if you chose. Serve over rice and sprinkle with scallions and hot sauce- lots of it- if you're Benjamin.
Basic White Rice (though there's nothing basic about this)
I think this rice recipe was dynamite. I think because when you have good rice, it's great rice.
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tbs. unsalted butter
3 cups water
1 tsp. salt
Rinse rice in a colander under cold water until the water runs clear. I did this- and dare I say I think this little step will make you a better cook and make the rice better as well! Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1-3 minutes. Add water and salt and increase heat to high and bring to a boil- stir to blend ingredients. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and enjoy!