Today is fall back day, my favorite morning of the year! Yes, even better than Christmas morning! Isn't it great to wake up with the sun shining in bright through the blinds, and you know you have a whole extra hour to do whatever you want? Love it!

Since I was so looking forward to this morning, I decided to make something that takes a long time, beans. I love beans, and most of all I love red beans and rice. I've tried to make cajun food only twice before, and both times I failed miserably. So badly that I haven't tried to make anything cajun for years. In fact, I've never made really good beans either. They've always been too dry. But this morning just felt so full of potential, I gave it a shot!

I soaked the beans overnight, and when I woke up at 7 (it felt like 8! yay!) I was able to prepare the whole dish with tons of time before church. I left the beans simmering while I was gone, and they were ready when I came home! 

Wow, y'all! These are so good. I do a little dance with every bite, not even kidding. I've already eaten 2 bowls before writing this. So good that I had to interrupt my blogging hiatus. These beans are even better than what I've had at most restaurants. They are full of seasoning, but not too salty. The bacon grease, ham hock and andouille sausage give the soup a perfect heartiness and warmth. Seriously try these! Oh! And watch Ken Burn's documentary on Jazz (on Netflix instant!) while you eat this, for the full experience. You've just had a true glimpse of my day today.

Red Beans and Rice
Source: Homesick Texan
Serves 6

16 oz. red beans, soaked overnight.
1 tablespoon of bacon grease (or oil of choice)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 oz. andouille sausage, cubed
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
2 smoked ham hocks (They look gross, but just drop them in the pot and don't think too much about it. You won't eat them, just enjoy the way they flavor the beans!)
8 cups chicken broth

For serving:
6 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice, very nice!)
4 green onions, green part chopped
Tabasco sauce (absolutely necessary!)

Clean and sort the beans, and then soak them in 6 cups of water overnight.

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion, celery and bell pepper in bacon grease for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sausage and for two minutes more. Add everything else to the pot except for the rice and green onions.

Turn the heat up to high and boil for 20 minutes. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on and let simmer for 40 minutes. Remove the lid, stir and simmer for at least 2 more hours. Mine went for 3 hours. Check on it every now and then and add more liquid if necessary. Are your beans soft now? If so, great! If not, keep simmering. 

When they beans are just right, smash some of them against the side of the pot to make the broth creamier. Discard the ham hocks and bay leaves. Spoon over cooked rice, and top with green onions. 
 


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