Monday, January 12, 2009

Bean feed

Day 3: Red beans and rice

My family - and I mean my deep, extended family, the one that occupied small towns in Oklahoma that I've never seen and amn't likely to - has a long history in beans. To hear them discuss it, beans are a passion. But I don't get it. Not with the beans they eat.

I've eaten beans that have incited passion, at least in me. But, they were fresh, green, Spanish, flavored with bacon and onion and garlic, and coated in olive oil, the edges of them crisped by the quick, hot saute. They weren't soupy and they didn't give me gas. Oh, and there was Rioja to drink.

My family never ate their beans with rice, and this confuses me. We're a lot closer to New Orleans than we are New Haven, for one. Two, we ATE rice. Why not think to combine the two? Why leave all the fun for the Big N.O.? What do you need, beans, rice, bell pepper, onion, celery, sausage, ham, cayenne? Big Deal.

Go easy on the cayenne if you're cooking from a recipe. Monsieur Prudhomme's is a fiery bastard. I cut the cayenne in half (I cut the butter by the same amount when I make his etouffe). A solid red wine goes well with this dish, but not if it's too hot. So, careful.

You'll need a baguette for sopping. As for the rice, go with basmati or a short grain, something like a sushi rice, which you can buy in bulk. You'll be using both later on, so maybe buy both. Hell, it's rice. Buy a ton, it won't go bad. And what's left over you can throw at your daughter's wedding. Provided you have enough left over to marry her off with.

Day 4 … Carbonara.

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