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Big Taste On A Budget

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Monday Red Beans

(Family Features) - Cooking on a budget doesn't have to mean cooking plain, boring food. In fact, there's a Louisiana tradition that serves up big flavor and big servings without big cost.

Red beans and rice is the traditional Monday supper in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana. After a weekend of bountiful eating, Monday was a day to cut back on the spending and eat on a budget. A while back, Monday was also wash day, and the beans could simmer all day on the back burner of the stove without a whole lot of attention. When the laundry was done, so were the beans.

Nowadays, it's the custom for almost everyone, including people who never do their own laundry, to enjoy red beans and rice every Monday. The beans are soaked overnight and often combined with a meat-based stock. As funds permit, andouille or kielbasa sausage can be added as a final ingredient.

Just as with gumbo and jambalaya, almost every family and restaurant makes their own version of red beans. Internationally renowned Chef Paul Prudhomme's recipe is a bit creamier than some and is seasoned with his Magic Seasoning Blends, a line of all natural (Kosher supervised) herbs and spices.

This recipe keeps well, and is just as good a couple of days later.

For more recipes and cooking tips, or to order online, visit chefpaul.com.

Monday Red Beans

  • 1/2 pound dried red kidney beans
  • About 10 cups of water, in all
  • 3 pounds small ham hocks
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped green peppers
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Pepper Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic
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    1. Day 1: Add enough water to beans to cover them by 3 or 4 inches and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
    2. Day 2: Place 8 cups of water, ham hocks, celery, onions, bell peppers, and bay leaves in a 5 1/2 quart saucepan or large Dutch oven. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
    3. Raise heat and boil until meat falls off the bones, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove meat and bones; set meat aside and discard bones.
    4. Drain beans and add them to the pot, along with remaining 2 cups of water, Magic Pepper Sauce, and the Meat Magic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pot fairly often, until beans are tender and start breaking up, about 1 hour.
    5. Return meat to pot, stir and cook 10 minutes more. Discard bay leaves and break up any large pieces of meat. Serve over cooked long grain white rice, with Magic Pepper Sauce on the side for those who like a little more heat.
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Makes about 7 cups, enough for 4 generous servings over rice
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SOURCE: Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning BlendsĀ®

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