Red Beans are a staple in every pantry in Nawlins. Even some of the fanciest of Nawlins restaurants incorporate Red Beans and Rice in their menus. Some run Monday specials of Red Beans. Why Monday you ask?!? Well, it's tradition, and here in Nawlins we are big on traditions.
Tradition of Monday Red Beans:
Old habits die hard. New Orleanians continue, with ritualistic fervor, to consume red beans and rice on Mondays. Spicy Caribbean recipes for beans and rice were brought to the city in the late 1700s by French-speaking Haitians fleeing the revolution in Saint Domingue (modern-day Haiti).
Local housewives and housekeepers quickly adapted the thrifty, convenient practice of tossing meaty ham bones leftover from Sunday suppers into simmering pots of red kidney beans that could be left to cook, undisturbed, over a low flame for hours – leaving them free to engage in the arduous Monday drudgery that was “laundry day.” Despite the modern convenience of washing machines and dryers, the Monday red beans tradition continues today, often in a slow cooker while the cook is at the office.
Those disinclined to cook the Monday staple themselves need only walk a block or two to a local eatery; red beans and rice is one of New Orleans’ few iconic dishes to be commonly cooked both in people’s homes and in restaurants.
Red beans are great when cooked down with meat, and modern cooks are as apt to season their pots with smoked sausage (preferably andouille), pickled pork, or a store-bought smoked ham hock as they are the leftover ham of Sunday suppers gone by. Restaurants frequently offer grilled sausage, a fried or grilled pork chop, or even fried chicken alongside the traditional plate of red beans and rice.
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Camellia’s Famous New Orleans-Style Red Beans
Total time: 4 hours
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 2 hours
- 1 ( 1-pound ) package Camellia Brand Red Kidney Beans
- 1/2 pound ham or seasoning meat
- 8-10 cups water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 toe garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- Salt to taste
- Cooked long grain rice
- Soak beans using your preferred method.
- Cover beans with water and start to cook over low fire.
- Render meat in skillet, remove and set aside.
- In skillet, sauté onion, garlic, parsley and celery in meat drippings. Add meat, bay leaf, salt and pepper to beans.
- Boil gently, stirring occasionally for about 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.
- Add water while cooking if necessary.
- Add salt to taste. Serve with rice.
For the seasonings, spice blends, and sauces to make your Cajun cooking absolutely perfect, check out the online store of Totally Nawlins. We stock ingredients that you can only find in Louisiana stores and ship them across the nation so you can always bring the spirit of Cajun culture to your kitchen. Shop with us online or call us at (985) 377-9253.