I came across Alton Brown's recipe for red beans and rice and knew I had to give it a try. I've cooked many pots of red beans, but this recipe was, by far, the best pot I've ever prepared.
2 T. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces pickled pork, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 bay leaves
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. your favorite hot sauce
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2 quarts water
1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris
Place the vegetable oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper to the pot.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the pickled pork, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high.
Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking.
If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher.
Serve over rice, topped with browned smoked sausage and thinly sliced green onions. Of course, add more hot sauce if you'd like.