Coast Cooking

Here is how to make an excellent pot of red beans and rice

Red beans and rice are a Monday classic.
Red beans and rice are a Monday classic. Special to the Sun Herald

I love Southern food traditions, so I plan to devote this week’s blog entries to a staple of the genre, beans and peas.

Beans and peas are a simple, inexpensive and delicious way to feed your family, whether you are making a side dish or an entrée. Yes, you can cheat if you must and use canned peas or beans, but they are simple to cook from scratch, and if you cook dried legumes with the lid on, they are done in two hours or less.

In the old days, Monday was red beans and rice day because it was also wash day. You could put a pot of dried beans on the stove and they be done by the time you were ready for lunch.

Red beans and rice are pretty simple to make. Add 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice and steam lid on until done, 20 minutes. Sauté sausage in a black iron skillet until well-browned. Remove and set aside. To the same unwashed pan, add one chopped onion and one chopped bell pepper (add a jalapeno if you want to spice it up), along with a big pinch of red pepper flakes, and cook 10 minutes. Add 2-3 cups dried red beans, cover by 1 inch with chicken stock and simmer until tender. About 10 minutes before done, add the sausage back to the pot. Serve hot!