New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
Adapted from various sources. Serves 6.
One pound New Orleans red beans or kidney beans, soaked and drained.
(I used Camellia brand, supplied by a friend who lives there.)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot chile powder or cayenne pepper (does not make it spicy)
1 tsp dried oregano
leaves from 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into thirds
a 2x2 inch piece of Reggiano Parmesan rind
1 quart chicken stock (low salt)
salt and pepper to taste
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley or green onion tops for garnish
hot cooked rice
Saute the onions, bell pepper and garlic in a little oil over medium heat until softened. Transfer the onion mixture to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients through the chicken stock, plus enough water to cover the beans by one inch if needed. (Do not add salt, it will make the beans tough.)
Cover the slow cooker and turn on low. Cook for 8-10 hours, until the beans are tender - stirring occasionally if convenient. If the mixture seems too liquid, open the slow cooker for the last hour or so of cooking and turn it up to high.
At the end of cooking, season to taste with salt and pepper (should take around 1-2 tsp of salt, and a good healthy grinding of pepper.) Remove bacon pieces, parmesan rind and bay leaves.
Prepare your favorite fluffy white or brown rice according to package directions.
Press the rice into a ramekin, press down, and unmold into a bowl. Spoon red beans and plenty of broth around the rice. Garnish with sliced green onion tops or chopped flat leaf parsley. Or just spoon the beans over the rice and eat!