Red Beans and Rice

serves 8

*If using Andouille sausage, taste the sausage for heat before adding cayenne and Tabasco

1 pound dried red kidney beans, picked over and soaked overnight in 8 cups (2 quarts) of cold water

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups water

2 smoked ham hocks 

2 large onions, finely diced

2 large celery ribs, finely diced

2 green peppers, finely diced

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

14-16 ounces smoked andouille or smoked kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Kosher salt to taste

Serve with:

4 cups cooked white rice (2 cups of rice cooked in 3 cups water)

Tabasco Sauce (optional)

Garnish with:

3 scallions, thinly sliced (light and dark green only)

In a large stock pot, combine stock, water, ham hocks, onions, celery, peppers, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and peppers; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until the ham hocks are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Transfer the ham hocks to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside to cool.  Drain the beans, add them to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for one hour.  Shred the meat from the cooled ham hocks and add to the pot along with the sliced sausage.  Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally until the beans are soft and the mixture is thick, adding extra water or broth if needed.  Season to taste with salt, cayenne, and freshly ground black pepper.  Serve over white rice, garnished with sliced scallions and seasoned with Tabasco, if using.  Enjoy!

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