I've had a bag of dried, small red beans in my cupboard for what seems like forever. I'm making a real effort to use up what I have around the house, so this bag of beans was going to be my star ingredient. Not wanting to make your basic red beans and rice or chili, I went on a virtual search for a bean recipe with a different twist. One of my favorite websites for random ingredient searches is FoodieView. There are a lot of websites that allow you to do an ingredient search (listing out what ingredients you have and then it spits out recipes that fit), but they seem to be a bit limited. Not FoodieView. Using their search engine, I have found more food websites than one can imagine. For this latest endeavor, I found Delta Red Beans and Rice.
This recipe is a 3-day adventure, so you do have to plan a little. The first overnight-er consists simply of soaking the beans in water in order to soften them up a bit. The next day is the main cooking day, but still not the eating day! After draining the beans, you add a mass amount of smoked sausage and ham. Seriously - look at this:
The beans, water, and meat simmer together for 3 hours. Next comes my favorite part; adding all of the spices! Fresh parsley and green onions, sauteed garlic and yellow onion, all the way to an assortment of dried spices - salt, pepper, sugar, oregano, thyme, and ground red pepper.
After adding some Worcestershire and hot sauce, you once again cover it up and let it chill in the fridge for 8 more hours. It smelled so wonderful, it was hard to put it away and wait another day!
Day 3: The feast! The final day is an easy one. Simmer the mixture for an hour or so and serve over rice. Not the prettiest of dishes, but I don't think I've seen a red beans and rice that is! Given the ample time it had to develop, the flavors melded beautifully and it turned out to be a great, comforting fall dish. Serve it with a salad and it is definitely a meal in itself.