Red Beans and Rice was Louis Armstrong’s favorite dish. Louisiana Red Beans and Rice is the quintessentially classic dish of New Orleans. You will find them served in just about every restaurant and home kitchen in the Bayou.
They are good on their own served as the main course with a crusty French baguette (or skillet corn bread) and salad – or as a side dish with Bailey’s fried shrimp and slaw, or even with our smothered pork chops. OMG I am so hungry right now. There are many ways to prepare them, but this is the recipe that I have honed for years.
“It really shouldn’t be any problem at all for you to figure out my favorite dish. Red beans and rice with ham hocks is my birthmark.” – Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong
4 cups red beans (you can use red kidney beans but the small red beans are more authentic)
4 medium onions, chopped
8 scallions (green onions), chopped
1 large chopped green pepper
4 stalks celery with leaves
4 cups of sliced (on the bias) Andouille sausage
1 large ham hock
8 ounces diced ham (Smithfield is my favorite), definitely not deli sliced ham
1 tablespoon salt
3 bay leaves
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
15 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Chicken stock to cover
There are two ways to prep dried beans for cooking. There is a fast method of covering them with water (about 6” above the beans) in a large pot, and don’t add any salt. Bring beans to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cover for one hour. Drain and begin recipe.
The other way is to soak them overnight, or for at least 8 hours without cooking. Drain and begin recipe.
In a large pot, sauté the onions, celery, green pepper, ham hock, Andouille, and diced ham until the peppers and onions are soft. Add drained soaked beans and the remaining ingredients. Add two quarts chicken stock (which adds much more flavor than water), or enough so the beans are covered at least 2 inches…stir from the bottom.
Cover and bring to a rapid boil over medium-high heat. Stir, and turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook for approximately 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Stir every so often so beans do not stick to the bottom. Add chicken stock if necessary. You don’t want them soupy.
As with most beans, soups, and stews, these are best made the day before. But if you are like me, you will never be able to wait. If you can’t wait that long, let them cool, and then bring them back to temp. Cooling anything intensifies the flavor all the more. It is worth the time it takes.
Perfect White Rice:
So many people are baffled on how to cook rice. It is really easy actually…just don’t lift the lid. In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup long grain white rice, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon salted butter. Bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring a few times to make sure it does not stick. Once it boils, stir for 1 minute constantly, turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes exactly. Do not (I said, do not), lift the lid. It is always best to fluff with a fork as opposed to using a spoon. When I make rice for my Cuban black beans, I add a clove of chopped garlic and use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.
I like my red beans served in a soup bowl with a scoop of white rice topped with finely chopped scallions. Serve with Tabasco sauce on the side for those who want it a bit more spicy. Let me know how you enjoyed them.
These 2 incredible hors d’oeuvres are easy to prepare and will be a hit with your family and friends every time you serve them.
PARMESAN SHRIMP CANAPE
The Parmesan Shrimp Canape is the first appetizer I ever made. It was when I was living at the Bayshore Royal in 1978 (corner of Howard and Bayshore – when they were apartments) and I decided to throw a Christmas party starting at midnight on the 23rd/24th of December. Yes, I said midnight. Actually, it was a blast – and it lasted until 5am on Christmas Eve. Oh, to be young again.
My friend Clare Robbins said it was her first “grown-up” party…and I remember that these Parmesan Shrimp Canapes were the hit with all my friends.
Toasted Canape Rounds: With a small size biscuit cutter, cut out rounds from a loaf of Pepperidge Farm white bread. If your cutter is the right size, you will get 4 rounds out of each slice of bread. Broil one side of the bread – make sure you watch the bread being toasted, for they burn quickly. Trust me, I have burnt my fair share of these little gems. Brush the un-baked side with melted garlic butter…of course using fresh garlic and real butter. The rounds can be done a day ahead.
Shrimp Topping: Put one pound of chilled cooked shrimp (peeled and deveined) in a Cuisinart (or you can finely chop them with a knife), and mince. Put in bowl and add, 2 finely chopped scallions, 3 tablespoon Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Lee and Parrens Worcestershire Sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper…stir to completely blend. Can be done a day ahead.
Assembling & Finishing: Top each finished toasted garlic butter rounds with a mound of shrimp spread on the non-broiled side. Place on a cookie sheet. Liberally top with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Broil in the oven until hot and bubbly. Watch so you won’t burn. Best served warm.
BASIL TOMATO CROSTINI
The Junior League of Tampa has some of the best cookbooks around. Actually, I am a fan, and a collector, of Junior League cookbooks from all around the country. On a side note, the Junior League of Tampa is a marvelous organization doing a huge amount of caring work all throughout our community.
My Basil Tomato Crostini got its origins from the Junior League of Tampa’s “Capture the Coast” cookbook. They call theirs “Mini Tomato Rounds” and you can find the recipe on page 46. Recipes to me are a guide if you will, for I am always changing up things to create a different, if not better, outcome. That’s the fun of cooking.
Crostini: Remember, the overall end flavor of any dish is directly related to the quality of ingredients. The three most important things for any recipe are: Ingredients, Ingredients, and Ingredients. So use good French baguettes for a crostini. I use my friend Kevin’s bread from Pane Rustica to make our crostini’s. He takes such great care in all his offerings – I trust him. You can use either the sourdough or regular French Baguettes. Cut thin slices off the baguette – I usually cut them on the bias (a slant cut) as opposed to straight down. Drizzle (or brush) with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, and bake on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until they are crisp.
Basil Spread: I stay pretty true to the original Junior League recipe. In a food processor, 1/4 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, 3 ounces, Philadelphia Cream Cheese (soften), 15 whole basil leaves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper. Blend until completely mixed.
Assembling & Finishing: I move off the Junior League reservation here, for we put a leaf of fresh basil on the crispy crostini – we do this because this will keep the crostini from getting soggy when the spread is placed directly on the crostini. Top the basil lined crostini with a generous amount of the basil cream cheese spread and top with half of a cherry or grape tomato. For an even prettier display, you can use half yellow and half red grape or cherry tomatoes.
We really kick it up a notch by adding a small piece of our candied Applewood thick sliced bacon. You can see how much from the picture. That is what’s great about this appetizer, you can prepare half with bacon and half without for the vegetarians at your party.
To make the bacon – layer thick sliced bacon on a rack lined baking sheet (one with a lip around all sides)…spread an even layer of brown sugar on each slice and lightly sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake at 350 degrees until crispy.
This week we have two very different and delicious salads. Both are really simple to prepare, and are perfect for serving at either lunch or dinner. Rosemary’s Kale Salad was inspired by my good friend Rosemary Henderson where she was served it when on a ski trip in Colorado. This was one of our most requested salads at Bailey’s Restaurant. The Lemon Vinaigrette I created specifically for this salad (and it is to-die-for), goes well with almost any salad, and especially a Cobb Salad. Add the amounts you desire in a large mixing bowl. INGREDIENTS
Fresh Kale (I like to wash and chop my own, but you can use the bag kind as well)
Toasted Pine Nuts
Shaved Parmesan Cheese (save with potato peeler for it makes a nice presentation)
LEMON VINAIGRETTE 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/3 cup sugar Wisk together (with a wisk, not in a blender) Add: 1 cup Fresh lemon juice 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil Wisk until completely smooth
OVEN ROASTED ASPARAGUS, HEIRLOOM TOMATO, & BLUE CHEESE SALAD Step One Preset oven to 450 degrees Fresh Asparagus with ends cut off Place on a sheet pan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil freshly cracked pepper and Kosher salt. Toss to coat evenly. Bake for exactly 5 minutes – no longer.
Thick Slice Heirloom tomatoes
(I like Heirlooms for they are typically full flavor and taste the way a tomato should taste, you can also use a mixture of yellow and red, and a mixture of cherry and grape tomatoes in various colors, always cut in half)
Oven Roasted Asparagus
Maytag Bleu Cheese, or any kind of bleu cheese you enjoy (Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton)
On individual white plates, or a large white platter, layer sliced tomato with oven roasted asparagus, top with bleu cheese, squeeze with a bit of fresh lemon juice, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a fine balsamic vinegar, dust with desired amount of fresh cracked pepper and salt
Buttermilk biscuits with honey butter. Biscuits with homemade preserves. Biscuits with sausage gravy. OMG, what could be better? Is there much to override the taste of a warm biscuit right out of the oven slathered in butter?
Since the age of three, I fondly remember visiting my dad’s cousin Lorena Platt and her family at their ranch in Melbourne, Florida. It was always a special treat as a young boy to ride horses and dine on Sunday lunch after church, which always included buttermilk biscuits. This is cousin Lorena’s recipe and I know you will enjoy them as much as I do.
This recipe is so easy to make. You will see me holding a baby (not a real baby mind you) in the video…to remind you of the most important thing in making a quality biscuit…DON’T over handle your biscuit dry mix or finished dough. Treat them like a baby’s bottom. Really. For a light, flaky, and delicate biscuit be gentle with your biscuit dough.
Sheet pan – I like light aluminum pans – dark pans conduct too much heat for my taste and have a tendency to burn the biscuit
Parchment Paper to fit sheet pan
Dry measuring cups
Wet measuring cups – usually glass or plastic
Biscuit cutter(s) – buy the tin with various sizes
Dinner knife to level off all dry ingredients
Cuisinart to mix your dry ingredients with butter (optional – you can use a fork or pastry cutter)
Makes 8 – 2.5” biscuits
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1 stick cold salted butter
¾ cup Marburger full fat buttermilk
Melted butter to brush on biscuits before they are baked
IMPORTANT: Level measure all dry ingredients
It is best if you use a Cuisinart but a mixing bowl will do. But we will pretend you have a Cuisinart. Level measure all dry ingredients into Cuisinart…pulse a couple of times. Cut ice cold butter into 8 pieces and add to dry ingredients…pulse until butter is broken into pea size balls.
Put ingredients into bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in cold Marburger buttermilk. Stir gently with a fork until it forms a ball. Turn out onto a floured service…a wooden board, cold marble or stainless steel work well. Gently roll out to desired thickness – at least an 1.5” – cut with a steel edged biscuit cutter. Cut straight through without rocking the cutter back and forth…and never use a glass for cutting biscuits for it presses the dough down and thus they will not properly rise. Place on parchment lined baking sheet…brush with melted butter. Place in fridge for 30 minutes. Bake at 425 for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your biscuit. When they are golden brown, lift one up, if they are light, they are done…brush again with melted butter if desired.
This recipe is perfect for miniature biscuits to make classic hors d’oeuvres. Try these at your next party:
Cranberry mayo (2 parts cranberry sauce and 1 part mayo), fresh turkey and fresh cracked pepper
Lime butter (made with lime zest and soft salted butter), filet of beef tenderloin or sliced Boars Head roast beef – you can substitute creamed horseradish for the lime butter
Cayenne Peach Preserves (add desired cayenne to store bought preserves) and Honey Baked Ham
Or any ham, chicken, or egg salads will make the perfect non-traditional tea sandwich
Fried Chicken is one of the best and most versatile foods around. It can be served room temperature outdoors at the beach or picnics; and is always good fresh hot out of the fryer at our family’s dinner table.
Bailey’s catered a big fancy wedding a year-or-so ago, and the 200 guests all were served beef filet medallions and Chilean sea bass…but the bride and groom requested and were served our fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. The smell of that fried chicken coming from the kitchen drove the guests wild – and it was hard for the celebratory couple to fend off well-wishers seeking a bite.
There are many ways to fry chicken, in a deep fryer, cast-iron skillet, or in a pot right on the stove top…and all are good. My preferred method is to fry it in a cast-iron skillet until a nice crispy brown for about 3 minutes on each side and finish it off in the oven.
What are your favorite sides to serve with fried chicken? Mine are buttery mashed potatoes, creamy rich mac and cheese (yes both, potatoes and macaroni – call one a vegetable), collards, green beans, black eyed peas, corn on the cobb, carrot and raisin salad (like the one Morrison’s Cafeteria use to serve), skillet corn bread, buttermilk biscuits with honey butter, extra thick 4-apple apple pie with homemade cinnamon vanilla ice cream. Well drop my britches and call me droopy…this is one heck of a granny-slappin’ good meal. Enjoy!!!
Large bowl to hold all the chicken and buttermilk
Half sheet pan
Baking rack to fit inside sheet pan
Tongs, or two forks, or thin kitchen prep gloves
Thermometer (all super markets have them)
Peanut (preferred) or Vegetable Oil
2 chickens (about 3 pounds each) or buy individual pieces
1 quart Marburger full-fat buttermilk – plus 2 tablespoons Tobasco or Crystal hot sauce (optional)
Variations: While I typically only use the aforementioned spice mixture, if you want to kick it up a notch, you can add (1 to 2 teaspoons) cumin, chili powder, and oregano. The key to this and all recipes is to create your own style and flavor components.
Cut chicken into desired servings…of course leave the bone in and skin on the chicken, we are not trying to diet here…not today at least. You may want to cut large breasts in half. Put chicken in large bowl and coat in buttermilk…cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.
Dredge each chicken piece in seasoned flour and mash down into the flour to get plenty of flour coating to stick. Let rest on rack 30 minutes before frying so it will come to room temperature. If using a cast-iron skillet or pot, fill with 2” of oil…if using a deep fryer, follow directions for that fryer.
Pre-heat oil to 360 degrees, and fry chicken in small batches for 3 minutes. It is important to not overcrowd the skillet for the oil will get too cool and boil the chicken. Place fried chicken on sheet pan with rack, and put in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Creamed corn is one of the most-tasty side dishes there is, and one of the easiest to make. Most people overcook corn. My mom always boiled corn on the cob for 12 minutes. NO. NO. NO. If boiling corn on the cob, two to three minutes in full boiling water is all you need at most. You want the crunch left in the corn. If you are making creamed corn, do not pre-cook.
SELECTING GOOD CORN
Selecting the right corn is very important. The best way is to peel back the corn husk and taste it…but many grocers don’t much care for that approach…but I do it anyway. You only really need to do this with one ear, for corn usually is sent in bushels from the same crop. The next best way is to make sure it is heavy – when corn is light in weight, that means it is old and the natural water is evaporating from the kernels.
If you bite into the corn or not, you should always look at the corn you are buying to make sure it looks fresh and isn’t dimpling. Choose corn with husks is always better than peeled corn in a plastic wrap.
Corn freezes well on or off the cob…and creamed corn freezes best. If I have extra corn, I always cut if off the cob, cream and freeze in zip lock bags for later use.
Creamed corn is super served with country fried steak, haricot verts (thin green beans) in brown butter, fresh sliced tomatoes topped with oven roasted asparagus, blue cheese crumbles, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), thick buttermilk biscuits and steak gravy made from the drippings.
Bundt or tube cake pan
Large wooden spoon for stiring
8 large ears of corn
2 sticks salted butter
2 tablespoons flour (optional – but I use it)
¾ cup heavy cream
Salt to taste (start with at least 1 teaspoon)
Fresh cracked black pepper (optional, but I like it)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional and more depending on the sweetness of corn)
Cut corn off the cob as shown in video using a Bundt or tube cake pan and sharp knife. Once the corn is off the cob, scrape the sides to get all the starchy juices off the cob. Melt butter in skillet on medium high heat, add flour and stir for about 2 minutes until the flour cooks. Add corn, cream, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir and let cook for 10 minutes or so – no more than that for you want the corn to have a good fresh bite to each kernel.