I am a Mississippi Nana but was a Louisiana Momma for over thirty years. One of the traditional staple meals in Louisiana is Red Beans and Rice. On Mondays many New Orleans restaurants serve Red Beans with sausage and white rice. Do you know why? The popular story of the New Orleans tradition is that Monday was wash day. Without the modern conveniences of today, wash day was an all day affair. Wash pots, scrub boards, outdoor clotheslines and clothes pins and baskets. So the red beans were put in a pot to simmer and stir and cook all day.
Teaching in Natchez I met my sweetheart Bill Caughman and fifty years ago last June, we married. As a young bride, I joined him in his small upstairs garage apartment in GoodHope, Louisiana in St. Charles Parish, just west of New Orleans. Mr. Roger (pronounced ro-zhaa’) left large red Creole Tomatoes on our doorstep that first summer. We later rented a small house in GoodHope from Mr. Bodin. After we had our first child we built a house where we raised our two children on Spruce Street in Norco, Louisiana.
I learned to cook New Orleans Red Beans from the Camellia brand package of “Red Kidneys”. Since they’ve been in business since 1923, you can trust that they know their red kidney beans! I still use their basic recipe which you will find on their packaging.
My husband and I often get a craving for red beans and I regularly cook them. Beans are high in protein. We just bought a new package so I took a photo for you. The brand is readily available most everywhere. There’s even a website: www.camelliabrand.com
Camellia’s Options: The meat can be: “Ham or seasoning meat.” Their recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons chopped celery, but we don’t like wilted celery. I’ll share my modifications including cooking my red beans in a Crock Pot.
Our son and his family made many of their gifts last Christmas. Salsa, Biscottis, Pralines, Strawberry Jam, and a jar of Bay Leaves from their garden. See the photo.
I posted a photo on Facebook and several people asked me for my recipe. So here it is for all you grand Mississippi Moms, Grandmas and friends. Enjoy! Happy New Year! Love, Nana o/`
RECIPE: Nana’s Crock Pot New Orleans Red Beans
1. Put dry beans from a 1# bag of Camellia “Red Kidneys” in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight.
2. Rinse and sort beans. Throw out water.
3. Put these ingredients in Crock Pot:
• Red beans
• 4 cups cold water
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 large can tomato sauce
• 1# link smoked venison sausage, cut into slices, I call them “coins”
• 1 teaspoon salt (or less depending on meat)
• 1 large bay leaf (or 2)
4. Cover and cook on High for 2 hours; then low 8 hours.
5. About 30 minutes before serving, take out a cup or two of beans, mash with a fork, and stir back into pot. (Makes them creamy.)
6. Cook long grain white rice.
7. Slice and butter a loaf of French bread. Serve fresh or toasty.
8. Serve Red Beans over Rice with French Bread, a small salad, and Iced Tea.
~~ Ginger Caughman