My father was stationed in Alabama for a short while when I was a little girl. Those few months had a huge influence on the way Mom cooked. One of the dishes added to her repertoire was Red Beans and Rice. Mom loved the frugality of the meal. Dad enjoyed the smoky flavor of the beans. I was the lone holdout. I did nothing but grumble every time a plate full of the offending legumes were placed before me.
Then I grew up. I don’t know if my taste buds matured or if the cheapness of the meal appealed so much that my sub-consciously frugal self started liking the beans. Either way, I actually love them now. They are so adaptable to any herbs and spices you want to add to the batch.
Because I live at a high altitude (5000+ ft), I boil my beans for 20 minutes and then let them soak in that water for an hour before draining them and putting them in the crockpot. I am too impatient or maybe too scatterbrained to soak beans overnight. When I lived at lower elevations, I would just put the beans straight into the crockpot and let them cook all day. They need that added cooking at the higher altitude. I learned that the hard way, of course. After 12+ hours of cooking in a crockpot, they were still crunchy. UGH.
- 2 cups dry red beans
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (I like to use red ones for the color)
- 4 cups water
- 1 ham bone with meat still attached
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp Cajun seasoning like Slap Ya Mama or ½ tsp just plain Tabasco sauce to taste
- In a dutch oven, cover the beans with 2-3 inches of water.
- Cover and boil rapidly for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the beans soak in the hot water for an hour.
- Drain the water and rinse.
- Put the beans in a crock pot and add the remaining ingredients.
- Cook on high for 6 hours or so, testing the beans with a fork to see if they are done.
- Remove the bone from the beans.
- Pull the meat off the ham bone and cut into small chunks and return the meat to the beans.
- Serve over plain cooked rice.