Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Daily Beans! ~ Cajun Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Ham Hock

     Down Home Delicious!
     Every different kind of bean has a slightly different flavor.  Some particular beans are cooked or seasoned in a traditional manner.  Red Beans are popular in the American south, especially in Louisiana.  Cajun Red Beans 'n' Rice are a main staple in many homes.  Cajun Style Red Beans are mildly spicy and full of rich flavor.  For this recipe, the Red Beans are usually cooked very soft.  The mushy beans in the pot yield a rich tasting bean gravy that is perfect with rice.

     Cajun Red Beans & Smoked Ham Hock:
     This recipe yields 2 servings!  (About 4 cups)
     Step 1:  Soak 2 1/2 cups of dried red beans in a container of water overnight in a refrigerator.
     Drain the soaking water off of the beans.
     Rinse the beans with cold running water a few times.  Discard any bad beans or pebbles.
     Step 2:  Place 1 large smoked ham hock or 2 small ham hocks in a pot.
     Add the soaked red beans.
     Add 1 cup of chopped onion.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients in the pot with 2" of extra water.
     Step 3:  Place the sauce pot over high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Boil for 17 minutes.  Add water if necessary.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer till the beans are tender.  (Add a little water if the liquid drops below the top of the beans.)
     Step 5:  Remove the lid.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Step 6:  Mash about 1/3 of the beans in the pot.
     Continue simmering the beans over low heat and leave the pot uncovered.
     Simmer the beans, till the broth turns into a rich red bean gravy and the beans are very tender.
     Cajun Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Ham Hock Presentation:
     Serving the smoked ham hock with the beans is optional.  Some people like to nibble on the ham hock meat while others prefer to use it as a dog treat.  Nibbling on the cartilaginous substance on a ham hock actually does have health benefits.    
     Step 1:  Cook 1 portion of plain white long grain rice.
     Step 2:  Place the portion of the cooked rice on one side of a large stew bowl.
     Remove the bay leaf from the beans.
     Ladle the beans into the bowl around the rice.
     Place the smoked ham hock on the beans.
     Garnish with a curly leaf parsley sprig.
     Cajun Red Beans & Rice is a healthy meal with a flavor that is hard to beat!

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