Friday, November 23, 2012
Red Beans and Rice II
The alternative for ham hocks is bacon drippings. It occurs to me that some of you may not even know what bacon drippings are. Bacon drippings are the fat that cooks off when bacon is fried. It seems like bacon used to be fattier, because we had a coffee can of bacon drippings sitting next to our stove when I was growing up. My parents ate eggs and bacon every morning for breakfast, but that was only bacon from 4 slices. It seemed like those cans filled up pretty fast. When they were full, my mother put them into the freezer and put them on top of the bird feeder when the weather got cold. One year, we had starlings in the bird feeder. The starlings flung wads of fat at the house and messed up the aluminum siding.
The recipe says to soak the beans overnight. I soaked them for a couple of hours and they were fine. Oh yeah. Hewitt says the beans are "not kidney beans as many suppose. " She doesn't say what they are, but they ain't kidney beans. Thanks, Jean, old girl. However, it is okay to use kidney beans. Make sure you start dinner in time to let the beans boil for an hour and a half.
Also, it says to use three cups of water, which would have left the ham hocks high and dry. I used twice as much water to submerge the ham hocks so they would cook properly, and ended up draining a lot of the water off at the end. I also threw in some crumbled hot red peppers that a neighbor gave me from his garden. The ingredients sort of stew together and make a sauce for the beans. It's a very acceptable dinner on a cool night, accompanied by a salad.
Red Beans and Rice II
1 cup dried red beans, soaked overnight
3 cups water
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons bacon drippings or one small ham hock
1 small onion, studded with two whole cloves (I chopped up the onion)
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 rib celery, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 bay leaf, broken into pieces
1 cup rice, cooked according to package directions
1. Drain the beans and place in a heavy kettle with the water, salt, pepper, and bacon drippings or ham hock. Bring to a boil and simmer one and one-half hours. Add the onion, garlic, celery, parsley and bay leaf and cook one hour longer.
2. Serve on hot rice.
Makes f our servings.