Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound dried small red beans, rinsed and sorted over
1/4 cup chopped tasso, or chopped ham
1 pound smoked ham hocks
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 1/2cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne or blended chipotle pepper
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 pound smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
4-6 cups chicken stock, reserved bean/ham stock, or water
4 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions, garnish
Chopped parsley, garnish
Sour cream, garnish

Place beans in a pot and cover with water, filling to cover with 2 extra inches of water.  Soak beans for 6 hours or overnight.  Drain beans, add the ham hock, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil.  Cook beans over medium heat until cooked, 90 minutes or so.  Drain beans (reserve stock if desired) and remove ham hock to plate.

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute onion, peppers and celery until softened.  Add the smoked sausag and cayenne or other hot pepper and garlic and saute briefly, then add the beans, 4 cups water or stock, the parsley, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Remove meat from ham hocks and add to pot.  Simmer until beans are soft and creamy, about another hour.  Mash about a 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot - the final mixture should be creamy, but still have lots of beans.  

Serve beans over hot cooked white (or brown) rice, garnished with green onion, parsley and sour cream.  Pass Tabasco or other hot sauce.

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