Monday, November 3, 2014

Guest Post: Primo’s Red Beans & Fries

Time for another guest post from my cousin Primo, straight from his pad in NOLA!  Seemed perfect to post on a Monday!
It’s Monday and that means it’s red beans & rice day down here in New Orleans. In the 19th century, Monday was laundry day in the city. Without washing machines, the women of the house had to wash all of the household’s laundry painstakingly by hand, leaving little time for cooking.  So dinner had to be something that could cook without being fussed over.
Enter the red kidney bean, brought to New Orleans by those fleeing Haiti’s slave rebellion. The beans needed to soak overnight before cooking. After soaking and draining them, housewives simply set the beans on the stove with fresh water to boil until tender, and then added a delicious helping of sautéed “trinity”– the Cajun/Creole cooking base of diced onions, celery and bell peppers.  This would typically also be combined with leftover ham from Sunday’s big family dinner.
While I love red beans and rice, I wanted to mix things up a bit and put a small twist on a local staple. While Monday is ‘red beans and rice day’ down here, it’s Monday Night Football for  the rest of the country. Football and finger foods go together like, well, red beans and rice. Thus, red beans and FRIES were born.
(FeauxNote: if you’ve made up a big batch of red beans & have some leftovers, this is a great way to use them up.)
Frozen waffle fries (or if you have a mandoline, you can make your own)
1 can Blue Runner red beans
1 lb smoked sausage (traditionally andouille or tasso, but use what you like best)
1/2 – 1 cup of trinity (diced bell pepper, celery & onion)
Green onions for garnish
Preheat your oven to 400F and when at temp, throw in your French fries (waffle fries hold up best for our purposes; Alexia makes some seasoned waffle fries, and Great Value sells a generic for about $2.00).
While I have the luxury of a modern washing machine, I decided to cheat and use a can of Blue Runner creamed red beans for experimentation purposes (and because I felt lazy). (FeauxNote: I can get Blue Runner at Wal-Mart in Missouri, but if you can’t find them, you can try this Crockpot recipe.)
While the beans heat up on the stovetop, dice a link or two of your favorite sausage—andouille in my case (FeauxNote: Johnsonville makes a New Orleans style smoked sausage if you can’t find real andouille near you) and drop the sausage in a medium skillet or saucepan to begin heating up and releasing that delicious fat. Enter your “trinity”. Again, I cheated and bought a container of pre-chopped veggies.
Add as much or as little to taste. Sauté those fine ingredients together until your onions become translucent. At this point, your peppers and celery will retain their crunch for a good texture contrast. Remove from heat.P1010246.JPG
Place a good base layer of your fries on a plate (platter if serving family style). Add a layer of the trinity/sausage. Heap your creamed red beans on top (FeauxNote: I added the Blue Runner beans to the pot and mixed it all together, rather than keeping them separate & layering—still tastes awesome). Lastly, garnish with some freshly diced green onions from your window garden…
…add a dash (or 5) of hot sauce, and serve.
Oh, and watch out for aliens posing as butternut squash. (Compliments of Feaux’s Hubs.)
Since the serving size on this varies (especially if you’re sharing with a group), I won’t attempt a NutriFacts sheet, but just use your brain—stop when you’re full.
Hey….I didn’t say it would EASY.  But just TRY to have some restraint.
Have a great week, folks!

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