Cooking Tip #1:
If you are pressed for time you can "quick brine" your beans. Combine the salt, water and beans in a large dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans and proceed with your recipe!
And here is the recipe:
Red Beans and RiceFor the Beans
1 pound small red beans (about 2 cups), rinsed
4 slices of bacon, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
6 cups water (3 Pints)
8 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices (this kind of sausage is spicy)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
Hot sauce, for serving
For the Rice
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or vegetable oil
3 cups water
1 teaspoon table salt
- Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 qts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Heat bacon in large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and almost fully rendered, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add onion, green pepper, and celery; cook stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in beans, broth, and water; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are just soft and liquid begins to thicken 45 to 60 minutes.
- Stir in sausage and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar and cook until liquid is thick and beans are fully tender and creamy, about 30 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and additional red wine vinegar.
- Serve over rice, sprinkling with scallions and passing hot sauce separately.
Rice (I usually start this during step 6 of the beans)
- Place rice in colander or fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear.
- Heat butter or oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly until grains become chalky and opaque, 1 to 3 minutes.
- Add water and salt, increase heat to high and bring to boil, swirling the pot to blend ingredients.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Off heat, remove lid and place kitchen towel folded in half over saucepan; replace lid. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes; fluff with fork and serve.
~Cooks Illustrated #102