Red Beans and Rice
1 pound dried red beans rinsed and sorted
3 tablespoons bacon grease (DO NOT OMIT THIS. That would be just crazy)
1/4 cup chopped tasso (plain old ham works fine)
1 large, or 2 small, chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
salt and pepper to seasoning; start with 1/2 teaspoon of each and adjust
A bit of cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 pound smoked sausage; split and halved
1 pound smoked ham hocks
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
4 cups cooked white rice
Put the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water. Make sure there is 2 or 3" of water above the beans. Soak beans for about 8 hours, drain, and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the bacon grease over medium high heat. Add the tasso/ham and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers to the grease in the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook until the veggies are soft, stirring often. Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks. Cook to brown the sausage and ham hocks. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the beans, stock, and water; stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken. Should be about 2 1/2 hours...or so. Remove from the heat. Smash about 20-25% of the beans in the pot. I use a potato masher, but the back of a spoon works fine too. Continue cooking until the beans are tender and creamy; about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.
Serve over rice