Sunday, February 21, 2010

Red Beans and Rice - Adapted from Chef Paul Prudhomme's

 Red Beans and Rice is a traditional Monday lunch in New Orleans so if you get cracking you can have it ready in time. I adapted mine from the version Chef Paul Prudhomme placed in his Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen 

 Andouille sausage and ham hocks.

Red Kidney Beans, soaked overnight.

Cayenne, thyme, oregano, garlic and a pepper blend. My main variations are pictured at the bottom of this photo. I used a blend of ground peppercorns instead of just white and I used 6 cloves of fresh garlic instead of the garlic powder called for by Chef Paul.

Onions, bay leaves, green pepper, celery, and of course, hot sauce. It should surprise no one that I focused on the hot sauce.

Squeezing almost all the ingredients into one shot. I was playing with a new fast (f/1.4) 50 mm lens in these shots.

1 pound dry red kidney beans soaked overnight*
6 ham hocks
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced on the bias
2 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
5 bay leaves
2 tsp. blended peppercorns
2 tsp. dried thyme
5-6 minced cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
1+ tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
Louisiana style hot sauce to taste

What you gotta do:
Saute all the vegetables and the seasonings in olive oil in a BIG Dutch Oven until onions start to turn clear.

Add ham hocks and 10 cups of water to Dutch Oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until ham hock meat is fork tender (about an hour, test it).

Remove ham hocks and add the soaked beans with 3 additional cups of water. Bring the pot back to a boil and then gently simmer with the lid on tight for 2 hours. *At this point the cooking time still remaining really depends on how fresh your dried beans are. If people don't eat a lot of beans where you live and the beans you buy are old it can take several more hours. If in doubt I'd recommend precooking the beans overnight in a crock pot. Adjust cooking time accordingly.

Stirring the beans every now and then is a good idea, particularly if you are not using a very heavy pot.
Once the beans are beginning to be soft (not mealy but not yet mushy) throughout add the andouille sausage and put the cover back on the DO.

Cook for another 35-45 minutes and start testing for bean "doneness" and if you need to adjust water level or seasoning. Once everything is getting close use a boning knife to remove any ham from the ham hocks and add that to the DO.

I used a hand blender to puree some of the beans to get a thicker consistency.

Serve with rice, ( I like a pilaf style rather than just steamed white) cornbread, hot sauce and if you are at lunch on a working Monday at least 3 beers.

I used an older Lodge #12 9 quart Dutch Oven. A 7 quart might work but anything smaller would have been too small.

Alternate money shot - I like them both so you get both.

I hope you'll make this and let me know how you liked it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Orange Scrubby, you're the one

You make cleanup time lots of fun,
Orange Scrubby, I'm awfully fond of you...
OK, maybe it isn't fun but this woven plastic scrubby thang is by far my favorite tool for cleaning up cast iron cookware.  They scour off any stuck on bits without stripping the iron of seasoning or removing all the oil used during cooking.

I simply scrub (as little as possible) while holding the piece under the hottest tap water. Wipe with a towel and set the piece in a warm oven to finish drying. Cleaning up couldn't be easier and my iron cookware is thriving with this treatment.

For a more comprehensive look at washing cast iron cookware > Lookee Here

Upcoming: We are off to Memphis and then parts of Mississippi and Louisiana for a quick vacation. Look for posts related to barbecue, blues, history and more coming soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2 Excellent Pie Tutorial Videos rev. B

Jumble Berry and Strawberry Plum pies. These look great and I really wish it was summer right now. Making pie crust (and biscuits) is reason enough to own a food processor.

It took me about 4 years to learn how to make decent crust but these videos should save people some time.
 My method is very close to what you see in these videos and below you can see a sneak peek at one of my pies. More to follow.