Red Beans and Rice

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Doesn’t it feel like Thanksgiving 2014 was just a couple months ago? Where has the time gone? Something about the crisp air, decorations on people’s homes, and Fall treats give me fuzzy feelings inside. I try to stay away from the malls since I can’t handle much of the Christmas music. Let’s just say Christmas music makes me cringe (I know, that makes me sound like such a scrooge). I used to work multiple retail jobs throughout my college years and listening to the same Christmas tracks from the beginning of November to the end of January drove me nuts. Anyways, red beans and rice definitely add to the warm fuzzy feelings and I won’t let anything get in the way of those fuzzy feelings! I mean, I practically wait all year for this. It’s a hearty dish and is something I wouldn’t mind having in my bowl while snuggled up in a blanket. A friend was smoking some meats in his new smoker and suggested some red beans and rice when asked what side dish to bring. I’m so glad he suggested red beans and rice because this has become one of the family’s faves!

Leftovers are even better! Enjoy with your most favorite hot sauce.

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Red Beans and Rice

16 oz. dry red beans, soaked overnight
2 strips bacon
1 red bell pepper, small diced
Half an onion, small diced
2 stalks celery, small diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 smoked turkey sausage, sliced into circles
1 smoked turkey leg
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
5 C. chicken broth

Cooked rice

1. Pour beans into a large bowl and cover with water until all the beans are submerged at least 2 inches. Set aside overnight. When the beans have absorbed most of the water, strain and set aside.

2. In a medium heavy pot, heat bacon on medium high heat and let the bacon grease cover the bottom of the pot.

3. Add the diced bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Stir and sautee for until the onions are translucent.

4. Add the sausage and turkey leg to the vegetables and let the meat heat up. Stir occasionally.

5. When the sausages are browned and warmed through, add the thyme, parsley, bay leaves, cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Stir for about a minute.

6. Add the chicken broth and soft red beans.

7. Bring the chicken broth to a boil. When the broth starts to boil, set the heat to low and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

8. When the beans are completely soft, use a fork and smash at least half of the beans. The smashed beans will thicken the broth!

9. Continue to simmer for at least another hour.

10. Taste the beans and add more cayenne, pepper, or salt to your taste.

11. While the beans are cooking, cook your rice either in a rice cooker or over the stove in a pot.

13. Serve the beans and rice immediately together.

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