Cajun Red Beans and Rice
from Cooks Illustrated, Jan/Feb 2010, found on Pink Parsley
- 1 pound small red beans, rinsed and picked over* (see Instruction #1)
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped fine
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1/2-1 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery (1-2 ribs)
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- ground black pepper
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 6 cups water
- 8-10 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1-2 tsp red wine vinegar, plus more for seasoning
- 3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
- hot sauce, for serving
- Cooked white rice, for individual servings
- Dissolve 3 Tbsp of salt in 4 quarts of cold water in a large pot. For Overnight Brine: Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. For Quick-Soak: Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat, cover, and stand for 1 hour.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until browned and almost fully rendered, 5-8 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook, stirring frequently until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
- Stir in beans, broth, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat but just enough to still maintain a vigorous simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook 45-60 minutes, or until the beans are soft and the liquid has begun to thicken.
- Stir in the sausage and 2 tsp of the red wine vinegar. Cook until the liquid is thick and the beans are fully tender and creamy, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and vinegar. Serve over rice, sprinkled with scallions and hot sauce.