Mardi Gras parading is tough work: Grueling hours sipping adult beverages at Mardi Gras balls and parades. You need lots of energy to fuel the bead-tossing and catching. Red beans and rice is the New Orleans staple of choice to get you through the day. Here is a great recipe from the files of Chef Jim Shirley of Great Southern Cafe in Seaside, Florida. Laissez le bon temps rouler!
This is a small-batch, slow-cook interpretation, but if you expect a crowd, just multiply as needed.
You can find Chef Shirley at Great Southern in Seaside, The Bay in Santa Rosa Beach, or The Fish House in Pensacola. Contact 850- 470-0003 or visit www.goodgrits.com for more information.
By: Chef Jim Shirley
Red beans and rice
1 pound dried red beans
4 cloves garlic
minced 2 shallots
minced 1 small onion
diced 1 pound Savoie’s andouille sausage
1/4-inch slices (or ham hocks, ham bones or anything else from that wonderful animal, the pig)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1½ quarts water
The night before the big day, rinse and soak beans, dice veggies and slice sausage. The next morning put the veggies, sausage (or other meat) and hot sauce into a slow cooker. Drain the beans and shake them into the pot. Add about 1½ quarts water, put the lid on and set cooker on low heat.
When you get home from work, crank cooker to high heat and start a batch of white rice. Give the beans a good stir to wake them up, crushing some against the pot to help thicken the sauce. Let it run on high for about half an hour, stirring and crushing until the sauce thickens. Salt and pepper as much as your ticker allows, spoon rice into big bowls, then ladle beans on top.
Make sure you have lots of good hot sauce around and something good to drink to cool you down.