Red Beans & Rice
Red beans are to New Orleans what the white bean is to Boston and the cowpea is to South Carolina.
This is a very nutritious and economical dish and is one of the most popular of all Creole cuisine. Red beans are always served with a dish of boiled rice. Until a few years ago, when New Orleans was not so commercialized, you could purchase a quartee beans, quartee rice and a little lagniappe to make it nice.' Quartee means a half a nickel and lagniappe was a gift given with a purchase, seasoning of some sort, for instance.
The red beans are soaked in water until the skins shrivel. Pour off the water and put in a deep pot. Cover with water, add chopped parsley, an onion and green onions, a tablespoon of lard, salt and pepper, a slice of meat, ham or several strips of bacon. Cook for several hours on a slow fire until thick and creamy.
When wood stoves were in use the old Creole method for cooking rice was to use an iron pot and a very low fire, adding just enough salted water to cover the rice. This was cooked for several hours, untfl the rice was done and every grain separate.
The modern way is as follows: Wash rice thoroughly and cook rapidly in boiling salted water until tender. Do not stir. Drain in colander, letting cold water run through it thoroughly. Place the colander with the rice over boiling water, cover, and steam until every grain flakes or stands apart.
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