Red Beans and Rice

1 lb bag dry small red beans

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 tsp minced garlic

2 large bay leaves

2 ham hocks (about 1 lb)

2 tsp Creole seasoning (I love Tony Chachere's)

2 tsp original Tabasco sauce

2 tsp salt

8 oz good quality smoked andouille sausage, roughly chopped

for serving---

1 cup dry brown rice

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

extra Tabasco sauce on the side!

Directions:

The night before, rinse the beans under cold running water and then place beans in a large pot. Cover with cold water and let soak overnight.

In the morning, drain the beans. Add the chopped yellow onion, chopped green pepper, celery, minced garlic, Creole seasoning, bay leaves and ham hocks in the same pot with the beans. Cover with fresh water about three inches above beans (I used a five quart pot and pretty much filled the thing to the top with water).

Turn the heat to high and cover pot with lid, letting about an inch open to let out steam. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

After an hour and a half, stir in Tabasco sauce, salt and chopped andouille sauce. Simmer slowly for another hour, stirring often at this point.

When the beans are done, the liquid should have gotten very thick (almost like a gravy texture) and the beans will almost look mashed. Remove the ham hock and the bay leaves and turn off the heat. Cover the pot again while you prepare the rice.

To make the rice, boil the rice, water and salt together. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork when done and serve with the beans with additional hot sauce on the side.

Time:

3 hours (not including time to soak beans overnight---trust me, it's worth it!)

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