There are probably as many variations on this dish as there are cooks who prepare it. Feel free to improvise; it’s hard to go wrong.
Let the beans soak overnight or, if you’re like me and never remember to start them that far ahead of time, bring them to a boil then turn off the heat and let them soak for a couple of hours.
- Dried Red Beans, one pound
- White or Yellow Onion
- Celery, a bunch
- Green Bell Pepper, two
- Garlic, 5 or 6 cloves
- Thyme, a handful of fresh sprigs or a couple teaspoons dry
- Bay Leaves, 2 or 3
- Creole Seasoning
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Cajun or Andouille Sausage
- Ham (or Ham Hocks, I think they look too gross!)
- Vegetable Oil
Cover the beans with a couple of inches of water and let them soak.
Chop 5 or 6 celery stalks.
Dice the green peppers.
Chop the onion and the garlic.
Barely cover the bottom of a large stock pot with vegetable oil and heat over medium to medium-high heat. Add the veggies and cook until they start to soften, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, dice the ham.
Add the ham and sausage to the vegetable mixture, stirring it in and cooking for a few minutes.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Add the beans, bay leaves, thyme, a couple tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and creole seasoning. Be careful with creole seasoning unless you like things hot and spicy.
Add enough water to barely cover everything and bring to a low simmer.
Simmer uncovered for at least a couple of hours. Longer is better. Gently stir every now and then and let it get thick and creamy.
Remove the spent bay leaves, thyme sprigs and discard them. Remove the sausage, slice it and put it back in the pot.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a bit before ladling over steamed rice.