Home-Cooked Red Beans and Rice (with caveats)

Caveats:

– I didn’t cook the red beans and rice, my boyfriend did.
– It was vegetarian
– My boyfriend did not make it on a Monday night.

He used a recipe from the cookbook Cooking up a Storm. From the Amazon book description:

“After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, thousands of people lost their keepsakes and family treasures forever. As residents started to rebuild their lives, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans became a post-hurricane swapping place for old recipes that were washed away in the storm. The newspaper has compiled 250 of these delicious, authentic recipes along with the stories about how they came to be and who created them. Cooking Up a Storm includes the very best of classic and contemporary New Orleans cuisine, from seafood and meat to desserts and cocktails. But it also tells the story, recipe by recipe, of one of the great food cities in the world, and the determination of its citizens to preserve and safeguard their culinary legacy.”

Some Red Beans and Rice History

Red beans and rice is an inexpensive meal and red beans grow very well in the Louisiana swamps. Back in “the day” (unspecified time before now) Monday was the traditional washing and cleaning day, so women would leave the pot of red beans boiling while they tended to their chores. Louis Armstrong loved red beans and rice and used to sign his name “Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Louis Armstrong.” (I’ve seen some people do this down here with their email signatures.)

Bars that Serve Red Beans and Rice (and not always on Mondays!)
– Pals (Monday)
– Micks (Monday)
– Candlelight Lounge (Wednesday)

– Vaughns (Thursday)

The Trinity
Red beans and rice calls for what is known as “the holy trinity”: onions, bell peppers and celery. These three ingredients are a staple of so many Louisianan recipes and the name pokes fun of the Catholic influence of the region.

Dirty Coast, one of the many tshirt shops that has popped up since Katrina, sells a design (available as a tshirt, a poster or bag) celebrating the trinity in Louisiana culture.
What do you put on your Red Beans and Rice?
I just found out today that my friend adds relish to hers. “Is that weird?” she asked. I didn’t know. What does everyone add to theirs?

My friend is in the Krewe of Nyx and made this red beans and rice decorated purse.

Update, 3/8/2012
The same friend who adds relish to her red beans and rice pointed me to Fleurty Girl‘s facebook page. Fleurty Girl will soon sell a locally made red beans and rice ring!

And who is Fleurty Girl? She is one of the many purveyors of NOLA-inspired tshirts and goods that has opened since Katrina. Soon I’m going to begin a series where I’ll break down some of the inside jokes featured on these shirts (just as I did with the Dirty Coast Trinity shirt above.)

Additionally, my dear friend asked an important question in the comments section of this post: “How did the food taste?” It was SO good! I think it got better after a night in the refrigerator. (It should be noted that this friend is an amazing chef. It should also be noted that I’m a bad New Orleanian for not thinking to comment on the food earlier!)

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7 thoughts on “Home-Cooked Red Beans and Rice (with caveats)

  1. Relish is kinda weird but, Red Beans and Rice is like gumbo…no two pots are alike. I never cook beans on a Monday, always a Friday. It’s a family tradition. My mom would cook beans on a Friday so my dad would have something to eat on a Saturday because, she didn’t cook on Saturdays. I kept the tradition going and fix them on a Friday.
    The only thing I add to my beans is hot sauce and that’s after they’re on the plate.
    The beans look really tasty and I love the purse!

  2. Thank you, my friend – I’ve got another cookbook to add to my collection! (And possibly a t-
    shirt as well!) But, forgive me – you forgot the most important thing – how did they taste??? PS For anyplace except Louisiana, relish would be weird. But that’s what makes LA cooking great…

  3. Thanks for the glimpses of home through your blog. Since moving to Australia, I have found myself homesick for NOLA. It’s fun to be able to experience it though a newcomer’s eyes.

    I have my red beans without additions, though I know people who put cocktail or pickled onions in them. Though I joke to my Australian husband that true New Orleanians don’t care what kind of beans go with the rice, just so long as there are beans.

    Pete’s Pub, of the ground floor of the Hotel Intercontinental used to, pre-Katrina, serve Red Beans and Rice Pasta on Mondays — serving the traditional red beans over rice-shaped pasta (orzo). That was an interesting tweak of the classic dish, and one definitely worth trying

    • That’s such a nice compliment! Thank you so much. Please let me know if you have any suggestions about things to write or want to write a post yourself! I will have to check and see if Pete’s Pub still serves RBR on Mondays…

    • While I grew up in California a good friend of the family grew up in the French Quarter during the depression. One of our favorite meals was her red beans and rice. She said as a girl her Mom would add India relish to make it different. I introduced this at a dive I used to eat lunch at in Washington DC..they thought I was crazy until they tried it!

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