Farm House Kitchen
I love reading about food, and I particularly enjoy learning the history and backstory of a traditional dish. This morning I was thinking about collards, which brought me to Red Beans and Rice, which brought me to a search of recipes, which brought me to the story behind this iconic southern dish. It turns out that Red Beans and Rice were what many cooked on Monday, as this was laundry day and kept the women busy. A pot of beans could go on the stove and cook all day. Traditionally pork bones and scraps from the Sunday Supper would go into the pot and or some leftover sausage. Looking at recipes on line, I am struck by the quantity of sausage meat the recipes are using. Seems high and probably off from what people were making "back in the day". Most people didn't have a lot of meat to eat, so dishes like these could really stretch your meat portions. Stew up some collards, cook the rice and there you have it, a hearty meal, with little effort, low cost and you can feed a lot of people. In India they do a version of Red Beans and Rice, but of course the spices are quite different. If you are interested in making either of these styles of Red Beans and Rice, there are several options that come up in a Google search, but here is what I threw together rather quickly last night. And, it was great with the Collards!
3 to 4 cups cooked Red Beans (I make my own in the pressure cooker but you can easily use 2 cans of Kidney Beans)
2 Onions from this week's share, chopped and include the green tops
2 stalks of Green Garlic, same as the onion
1 good smokey Sausage (or more if you are looking for more meat! If you have very flavorful sausage you really don't need to use much.
OR you can use a tasty Ham Hock)
Several shots of Tobasco, to taste
Salt to taste
2 TB Butter, divided
1 TB Oil
In a heavy bottomed pot heat the oil and 1 TB of the butter, add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook on medium about 4 minutes. If you are not using bulk sausage, remove the casing and chop into small bits. Add the sausage to the pot and cook. I was using smoked sausage, so it wasn't raw and didn't take much time. It was mostly breaking it down a bit more and getting some of the flavor out before adding the beans. Add the beans with one cup of bean water along with remaining butter. If you want it thinner add more water or stock. Stir well, season with Tobasco and some salt. Cover and cook on low for 45 minutes or so. I actually ate mine right away, as I was hungry and it already tasted wonderful. But really I made this for the next night because it is one of those meals that tastes better later. I enjoyed it with cooked rice and the Stewed Collards AND I did laundry:)