Quartée red beans, quartée rice,
Little piece of salt meat to make it taste nice,
Lend me the paper and tell me the time,
When papa passes by he’ll pay you the dime.
There was once a time when the young girls of New Orleans would jump rope to this jingle, imagining a scenario of a little girl telling an amused grocer, in no uncertain terms, how the transaction was going to take place.
If there is one single important New Orleans dish, this is it. This is a dish everyone enjoys, rich and poor, black and white. Louis Armstrong was known to sign his personal letters “Red beans and ricely yours”.
This was traditionally served on Monday – laundry day – because its long, gentle cooking did not command much attention while the ladies of the house washed the clothes in the courtyard. In addition, the rice the beans were served over was boiled in a large pot of water, like pasta. When the rice was cooked, it was strained and the starchy cooking water saved. Then, any laundry items needing starch were dipped into the cooking water and ironed dry. Thank goodness we can now buy the stuff in a can (the starch, that is)!
Do not give yourself over to sorrow, and do not distress yourself deliberately. A joyful heart is life itself, and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span. Indulge yourself and take comfort, and remove sorrow far from you, for sorrow has destroyed many, and no advantage ever comes from it. Jealousy and anger shorten life, and anxiety brings on premature old age. Those who are cheerful and merry at table will benefit from their food. ~ Ecclesiasticus 30:21-25
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
12 to 15 servings
- 1½ pounds andouille, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts, or thighs, or a combination, cut into half inch cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 5 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
- 2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet
- 4 cups rice
- 2 bunches chopped green onions
- ½ cup chopped parsley
Heat the oil in a large, heavy, Dutch oven. Brown the sausage slices, then remove to a bowl and set aside.
Season the chicken with the salt and pepper, then add to the fat in the Dutch oven and brown. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Add onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic (a combination known as “The Trinity and the Pope’s Head”) to the fat in the Dutch oven and cook until the vegetables begin to wilt. Add more oil beforehand if none remains from browning the chicken.
Add stock and seasonings to the vegetables, along with the reserved sausage and chicken. Bring to a boil.
Stir in rice and return to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to lowest setting.
Cook, covered, 10 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly turn the rice from top to bottom. Replace the lid and cook 15 to 20 minutes more, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Stir in green onions and parsley.
Note: Zatarains rice works best, but increase the first phase of the cooking time to 15 minutes, and after turning the rice from top to bottom cook for a full 20 minutes. Test for doneness. Zatarains takes a little longer to cook, but holds up better when the leftovers are refrigerated. If not Zatarains, then any long grain rice will work, and with the shorter cooking time described in the recipe. The jambalaya does not freeze well.
Red Beans & Rice, New Orleans-style
8 to 12 servings
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans, sorted, then soaked overnight in water to cover
- ½ pound ham or other seasoning meat, in ½ inch or less dice
- 1 pound andouille, in ¼ inch slices
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (recipe below)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons or more chopped parsley
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
Drain the water from the beans, then rinse the soaked beans. Drain again and set aside.
Sauté ham and andouille with a little oil in a heavy Dutch oven until it begins to brown.
Add onion, celery, pepper, and garlic to the ham and andouille. Sauté until softened.
Add the beans and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil.
Add the bay leaf and Creole seasoning to the beans, then reduce to a simmer and gently cook, uncovered, for about 1½ hours, until beans are tender. Add water while cooking, if necessary.
Add salt, pepper chopped parsley, and green onions towards the end of the cooking.
Serve in bowls over cooked white rice. Pass pepper sauce.
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Dash of chili powder
- Dash of ground cumin
Combine all and store in an airtight jar.
Submitted by: Brian Reid from St. George’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans. Brian has contributed recipes that have appeared in The Times-Picayune and other local publications. (With thanks to Karen Mackey, Communications Coordinator, The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.)
For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, visit: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/blog/advent/resources
Tomorrow: Fried Pork & Plantains from Haiti