One of my favorite new traditions is Monday night “Laundry Day” with a few of my close girlfriends. It all started when I wanted to make red beans and rice for dinner, coincidentally coinciding on Monday which is the traditional Louisiana day for the dish (in that it was customary to save your Sunday ham bone for the stew, leaving a pot of beans that could sit on the stove and simmer while clothes were being scrubbed for the wash). Needless to say, it was a great success, and although we like to mix up the menu, “Laundry Day” is still the one night of the week we all look forward to. So the next time you get hit by the Milwaukee winter blues, call up a couple friends, and try out this delicious recipe which is sure find a special place in your heart and transport you down to the bayou where I was born. And being an “accidental vegetarian,” I typically cook vegetarian-friendly meals, eliminating the traditional meats from the dish, but don’t worry, it’s still just as tasty. Just don’t forget to serve with good company and good beer. Cheers!
Red Beans and Rice (vegan)
- 1 - 2 large cans of red kidney beans
- 1 large onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 ribs of celery
- garlic (to preference)
- 1/2 - 1 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 - 3 bay leaves
- several dashes of Tabasco
- Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning (to preference)
Drain your can(s) of beans and place in pot with a double volume of fresh water. Bring the beans to a rolling boil, always making sure that there is a layer of water covering the beans (otherwise they’ll get all hard and discolored). Boil the beans for about an hour, until they are tender but not necessarily falling apart.
While the beans are “doing there thing,” chop and dice up the “Holy Trinity” (aka the onion, celery, and bell pepper) and saute in olive oil until the onion turns translucent. Add garlic and saute for two more minutes, stirring occasionally.
After the beans are boiled and drained, add the sauteed Trinity to the bean pot as well as all your spices and seasonings. Add just enough water to cover, bring that puppy to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours at least (preferably 3, or until the whole thing gets nice and creamy). Adjust seasonings as you go along, stirring occasionally, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
Serve generous spoonfuls over hot white, long-grain rice with French bread and hot sauce.