I have never experienced authentic Red Beans & Rice, but I eagerly anticipated putting this dish together. It would obviously not be authentic, and deliberately so, since I am vegetarian, and Andouille sausage and pickled pork are usual ingredients. Of course recipes for red beans and rice differ from household to household and chef to chef but are nevertheless authentic. I attempted to mimic these flavors in at least a remote way yet keep my dish vegetarian/vegan.
Another unauthentic aspect of my dish is that I used brown rice instead of the traditional white rice. Speaking of authenticity, one of my friends from Louisiana is adamant that the rice must be served on top of the beans and never beans over the rice. I won’t take a side in that debate. I chose to follow his method for esthetic reasons.
I began by triple washing/rinsing the small red beans early yesterday afternoon and started the Crock-Pot® cooking at bedtime after draining and re-rinsing the beans and adding fresh water. After slow cooking overnight I added a bay leaf and a few cloves of garlic.
The beans were not yet done so I reset the heat intensity and duration on the slow cooker and drove to the city to pick up some needed ingredients and run a couple errands.
Upon returning home, I chopped and sautéed red onion, celery and green bell pepper then mixed them in with the beans.
I began seasoning by adding the smoky flavors of black habanero hot sauce, smoked paprika, powdered chipotle chilis and liquid smoke. I held off on the salt, since that is said to delay softening of the beans.
When the beans were thoroughly cooked I plunged the stick blender a few times to partially blend and thicken the beans.
Kosher salt, dried thyme, basil, parsley, crushed celery seeds and cayenne were added as well as additional smoked paprika, powdered chipotle, liquid smoke and black habanero sauce. To mimic the tartness of pickled pork, which I eliminated, I add a little apple cider vinegar.
Finally, I added a sliced Tofurky® Italian Sausage plus half a chopped and mashed one to the beans.
My red beans and rice dish may not be authentic but, by golly, it tasted good!
A note of importance:
I usually make a point of rinsing cooked beans, whether from scratch or from a can, to avoid undesirable effects of a gaseous nature. In this dish retaining the gravy gravy was essential. I think the final rinsing after soaking the beans prevented such repercussions.