Chef John Besh is the face of New Orleans cooking. The southern Louisiana native has restaurants throughout New Orleans and is one of the city’s biggest ambassadors. And staying true to his character and love of everything New Orleans, he took time out to talk to me about red beans and rice as part of my popular How Do You Red Bean? series.
Though he doesn’t do much cooking on the line like he once did, he still is trying to feed as many people as he can with the flavors of New Orleans and Louisiana with his cookbooks. He had recently released his fourth cookbook, BESH’S BIG EASY. He was kind enough to share that recipe with us here.
2 tablespoons bacon fat or oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 pound dried red kidney beans, soaked in water overnight and drained
1 smoked ham hock
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
4-6 cups cooked white rice
2 green onions, chopped
Heat the bacon fat in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and sweat the onions, bell peppers, and celery. Once the onions become translucent, add the beans, ham hock, bay leaves, and water to cover by 2 inches.
Raise the heat, bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot. Let the beans slowly simmer for 2 hours, stirring from time to time to make sure they do not stick and adding water to keep them covered by at least an inch. Continue cooking the beans until they become so tender they begin to fall apart and become creamy when stirred.
Remove the ham hock from the pot and take the meat off the bone. Roughly chop and return to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Serve the beans in bowls topped with white rice and green onions.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Chef John Besh’s newest cookbook, BESH BIG EASY: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes, is available from Andrews McMeel Publishing. The recipes included in the book are simple, easy-to-follow and feature ingredients that will have you cooking the authentic flavors of southern Louisiana, right in your own kitchen.
With this cookbook, Chef John Besh pays homage to New Orleans. He takes away the complicated steps and hard-to-find ingredients that some associate with Creole/Cajun cooking, as a way to inspire the readers to just get in the kitchen and cook. For you to have that great New Orleans meal, Besh offers practical advice, helpful tips, and his secrets for mastering the recipes.
The 101 recipes are broken up into 11 chapters that include sections on Easy Apps, Soups & Bisques, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Veggies, Big Fish, Butcher Shop and Rice, Beans & Corn. In the Rice Beans & Corn chapter, you’ll find Chef John Besh’s Red Beans & Rice recipe.
To purchase BESH’S BIG EASY by John Besh, you can follow this link to Amazon.
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Keep the red beans cookin’!