Reader shares her own red beans and rice recipe

June 5, 2013 

Back in earlier times, Monday was wash day, the back to work day. Because it was such a heavy chore day, Monday also became red beans and rice day.

Homemakers could put on a pot of beans and let them cook while they did the laundry. Some Coast and New Orleans restaurants always have red beans and rice on Monday's menus.

When I lived in Houston, Treebeards, a restaurant housed in the second oldest building in Houston, always had and still does offer red beans and rice Mondays through Fridays. I never really liked red beans and rice until I ate theirs. They sprinkle Cheddar cheese on top, and now I do, too.

My husband likes his the traditional N'awlins way, sans the cheese.

A Biloxi reader asked for a traditional Biloxi red beans and rice that was served every Monday back in the day.

Carol Ryan answered the call.

"I am sending you a recipe for red beans and rice," she said. "It is one I have come up with on my own as I have experimented over the years until I think I have hit on the best one. Everyone I have ever given recipe to has loved it."

CAROL'S RED BEANS AND RICE

Take 1 pound of red beans and wash good then put in a big pot and cover with water and soak overnight.

These are the ingredients you will need:

1 large onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 can of stewed tomatoes

1 can of Ro-Tel tomatoes (you can use

whichever kind, mild or spicy, to your taste)

1 ham bone with a good bit of ham left on bone (, or if you don't have a ham bone you can use 2-3 ham hocks, but the ham bone is best. If using ham hocks, you also will need a big slice of ham, not the sandwich kind, but a big one you can fry for breakfast.)

1 teaspoon of powdered thyme

6-7 cups of vegetable broth (I use Swanson's because I think it is the best. This gives a better flavor than water.)

1 to 2 pounds smoked sausage

Next morning drain your beans.

Take 3 tablespoons of bacon grease, can use olive oil, but the bacon grease is better. Put in a large pot melt the grease and then add your chopped vegetables and saute a couple of minutes, then add both cans of tomatoes and saute for about 4-5 more minutes. Then add your beans, add the broth to cover the beans, sometimes I add a bit more broth, depends on how it is looking. Add your thyme now and give it a stir and bring it to a boil then turn down on simmer.

Simmer about 1 hour, and add ham bone or ham hocks. Simmer about 1 more hour or so. If the meat is falling off the bones, take out of pot and remove all ham from ham bone or ham hocks, put ham back in pot and discard bones. If using the ham hocks, chop up the ham slice into cubes and add to pot. Simmer about 2 more hours or until beans are done. Then take 1 to 2 pounds of smoked sausage and slice or cut up, brown in a skillet and then put in the pot of beans. If you want more spice to the beans, add some cayenne pepper. Serve over rice. This is really delicious and different than most red beans.

-- Submitted by Carol Ryan

Sweet on taters

Lately, readers have shared sweet potato pone recipes for Elizabeth Norris, who requested a good recipe, but sweet potatoes can be used in so many other ways. I received a brochure from the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council filled with recipes that one might not think of using sweet potatoes.

I thought I would share three recipes that struck my fancy, and I thought readers might, too.

According to the brochure, this is a way to reduce the fat content per ounce of spaghetti sauce while adding vitamin A.

SPAGHETTI SAUCE

2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce

1/2 cup sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

Blend spaghetti sauce with cooked and mashed sweet potatoes. Heat through and serve over pasta. Browned ground beef can be added if desired.

-- Mississippi Sweet Potato Council

NUTTY SWEET POTATO COLESLAW

3 cups cabbage, shredded

1 cup sweet potatoes, shredded

1/2 cup apple, chopped

1/2 cup pecans, chopped, optional

1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

Combine all ingredients. Mix well and chill before serving.

Note: May substitute 3/4 cup Thousand Island dressing for mayonnaise, sugar and milk.

-- Mississippi Sweet Potato Council

SWEET POTATO CORNBREAD

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cup peeled and grated sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

In a small bowl, beat egg until frothy. Stir in buttermilk and sweet potatoes. Pour sweet potato mixture into flour mixture, stirring just until blended.

Pour batter into greased 9-inch square baking dish. Bake 20 minutes or until center springs back when lightly pressed with fingertip. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 12 servings.

Note: You can omit the sugar in this recipe and use this cornbread in your Southern style dressing.

-- Mississippi Sweet Potato Council

Singing the blues

Blueberries are late this year due to the cooler weather we had in late April and May, but Poplarville is gearing up for the annual Blueberry Jubilee on Friday and Saturday. Craft and food booths, car show, entertainment and 5K run start at 8 a.m. and continue through the afternoon.

Hopefully, there will be blueberries and blueberry lemonade for sale. Ocean Springs' Red, White and Blueberry Festival had great lemonade stands. If anyone has a good recipe for blueberry lemonade, please send it to me. My family loves the drink. We like to mix it with sugar-free blueberry iced tea for a half tea-half lemonade drink.

Whole wheat recipes, please

"I have lost my 'whole wheat' recipe book," said Mary F. Jones of Bradenton. "I need recipes for whole wheat biscuits and whole wheat crackers. Please help my find some of my lost recipes. All recipes will be appreciated."

OK, readers, let's get busy finding these whole wheat recipes for Jones. She needs your help.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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