It is well known that Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong loved red beans and
rice. In a letter to a fellow New Orleanian, Armstrong wrote, "It really
shouldn't be any problem at all for you to figure out my favorite dish.
We all were brought up eating the same thing, so I will tell you: Red Beans
and Rice with Ham Hocks is my birthmark."
3 tablespoons bacon fat, lard, or extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups andouille sausage or smoked sausage, chopped or sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound dried kidney beans
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 bay leaves (optional, but I happen to love the taste)
6 cups cooked rice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup scallions, sliced (optional)
3 jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional)
In a Dutch oven, heat the fat, lard or oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the cumin and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
Add the beans, salt, hot sauce, bay leaves (if using), and enough water
to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately
reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Uncover and simmer until the beans are tender and the sauce has
thickened, 30 to 45 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Serve over rice, topped with the scallions, parsley or sliced jalapeno peppers.