Chef’s Notes: In this recipe, the first steps are the most important. Browning the meats, and letting them stick to the bottom of the pot, creates a foundation of flavor. When you add the onions, celery, and bell pepper, these aromatic vegetables will give off enough juice to deglaze the bottom of the pot, creating an intensely flavored broth in which to cook the beans. This recipe is a tribute to my mom, Ernie Brigtsen, who made the best red beans in the world.
Cooking Time: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
Makes 6 to 8 servings as a main course (11 cups)
- 2 tablespoons mild olive oil
- 2 cups ham or pickled pork, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups Andouille smoked sausage, sliced into half-rounds, 1/4-inch thick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup finely diced green bell pepper
- 2 cups finely diced celery
- 3 cups finely diced yellow onion
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried whole-leaf thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried whole-leaf oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup finely diced canned tomato
- 14 cups chicken stock or water
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans, soaked
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ham or pickled pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat begins to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage begins to brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the bay leaves, bell pepper, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Add the garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans. Cook, covered, for 1 hour.
Remove the lid and stir in the parsley. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, and the broth has a gravy-like consistency, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and serve with cooked rice.
Makes 5 1/2 cups
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried whole-leaf thyme
- 1 pinch ground white pepper
- 2 cups Jazzmen aromatic white rice (or sub jasmine or basmati rice)
- 3 1/2 cups water or stock
Heat the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions become soft and clear, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the salt, thyme, and white pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 20 to 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to low and add the rice. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to very low. Cover the pot and cook for exactly 17 minutes. Remove bay leaf, stir once, and serve.
Recipes from Frank Brigtsen, owner and chef, Brigtsen’s Restaurant