I am just a learning at-home cook, who likes to cook, not skilled as you guys are; I do like to try though. Here is the recipe I ended up with, and am pleased with the results, though I would change a couple things if I had to do it again right now. Again, this is a slightly vamped version of a dish I was given to do by the boss lady. Fwiw, we're in the winter in Massachusetts presently, so this warm protein is nice for us who are on the go and need a couple meals in the fridge twice a week.
Red Beans and Rice:
touch of olive oil
1 lb dried, rinsed and soaked overnight small red beans
1/2 a package of thickly sliced bacon
1 med yellow onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red chilli pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 whole clove, 1 crushed glove garlic
4-5 bay leaves
some thyme (dry-homemade)
fresh crushed black pepper
'fresh' parsley (dry-homemade; the recipe called for fresh, not dried)
bundle of green tops from green onions, chopped
ground Red Cyan Pepper
At the end, I'll mention what I would do differently. I won't go into complete detail, for you guys can read between the lines on the easy stuff.
Starting with good bacon, I rendered it with a touch of oil to keep it from sticking to the pot with salt. Removed the bacon, and softened the onions, green bell pepper, red chilli pepper, celery, 1 bay leaf, 1 whole and I chopped garlic on medium heat. When ready, I added the beans, cumin, the rest the bay leaves, fresh ground pepper (I used a pestle and bowl and strainer). When I hard the pot sizzling over medium heat, I turned it off, and covered the pot for 35-40 minutes. My idea here was to get the bean soaking up the bacon fat and spicy flavor. Then I added the bacon, water, ground Cyan pepper and brought it to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then cut back the heat. Slow boiling for an 1hour and 1/2, I tasted it along the way, and felt it was light on seasoning, but didn't want to grab salt first, but add it last, thus my thread. There was good heat from the chilli pepper, cyan and black pepper, so I added another bay leaf and thyme, and that seemed to get what I needed. I then added more salt, and towards the end, a week old dried out parsley of about 4 table spoons, the chopped onion tops, mashed the beans and added more salt as needed. After adding the water, I probably cooked it for 1 3/4 hours before turning it off and covering. It sat in the fridge last night, and today I cooked the rice and had a feta cheese mixed salad with roasted garlic and herb dressing (dry mix--which one day I'll make from scratch!). I'm happy with it, but always believe in improving!
What I've learned from this one so far:
1) Stock over water. This would make a much better flavor impact!
2) MORE onion and probably a mixture of vidalia and yellow. There wasn't a proper balance between bell pepper and onion, and onions lower the need for salt.
3) I liked the thyme, so may keep it in. Too much thyme ain't good, but some gave what I needed.
4) Make that onion mixture Pollopicu was talking about above and locate some dried mushrooms.
5) Flavor test Cilantro vs. Parsley with this recipe.
1) How many more fresh cloves (minced, chopped or whole) do you think this recipe needs?
2) What other suggestions/replacements do you have?