I think about food, seriously, 24 hours a day. It's my job. I'm always thinking about how I can improve on a dish at the restaurant, or create something new and exciting, or make something my family loves. So, the other day my GM starts talking to me about the dinner he made a few nights earlier. Hey, that's what we do in the restaurant world. Other people talk about TV shows, or Hollywood gossip, we talk about food. Constantly! The dish he made was Red Beans and Rice. He didn't have the time to use dried beans so in his version he used canned beans. Hey, do what you can with the time you've got, right? My first encounter with Red Beans and Rice was actually at Popeye's Chicken. Say what you will about fast food places, I know I do, but I think they have a fairly decent Red Beans and Rice. And so, for the rest of that day at work all I could think about was making Red Beans and Rice. When made right, they have a delicious smokey-ness, nice spice, and rich gravy that should make for a yummy meal. Feel free to adjust the amount of spice to your own level. If you cannot find ham hock at your grocery store, you can substitute diced ham steak, or andouille sausage. Enjoy!
Spicy Red Beans and Rice
- 1 lb dried red beans
- 1 med size onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 ham hock
- 16 cups water, divided
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2Tbsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 8oz tomato sauce
- Pick through beans, discarding any stones, gravel or dirt that may be present. Rinse thoroughly. Soak beans with 8 cups of water for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight is best, at room temperature.
- Drain beans. In a medium sized stock pot, heat oil over medium heat and saute onions until tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add drained beans, ham hock, and cover with 8 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 3-4 hours, or until beans are soft and liquid has begun to reduce and thicken.
- Add remaining ingredients, stir well, and continue simmering for 10 minutes.
- Taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve over cooked white rice.