Red Beans and Rice (Contentment and Cranking yer tractor)

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, I’m about to show you how to make a humdinger of a good old country meal, but if you’ll bear with me a moment, my little soap box was getting dusty so I need to pull it out of the closet for a few minutes and put it to good use.

~takes out soap box, dusts it off with her hand, steps up on it and clears her throat~

I consider myself to be a very contented person. Where most folks might dream of traveling around the country or even the world, I am perfectly happy being right here in my home with my family. There is no place on earth that has anything better to offer me than what they provide within these four walls.

But in some areas of my life, I am anything but content. I see the world around me, hear of countries where children are starving, mothers can’t stop their infant’s pain, people live in slums and hope to survive just one more night. Then walk around in my world where you can encounter people richer than half the universe with negative attitudes waiting on happiness to be magically bestowed on them like a winning lottery ticket. ~blinks~ Now there is a contrast.

I can’t help but have a yearning. I want to do more. I want to help more, smile more, inspire more, motivate more, reach out more, and be more grateful. I think that is the stirring in my soul that defines who I am at this point in my life. Of course, there truly aren’t enough hours in my day right now to do more but I’m always scheming for something.

But you know, I’m a firm believer that the biggest difference we can make in the world is not one that requires a lot of time, money, skill, education, or even talent.

I may not be able to go overseas and drill wells for a village but I can turn off my cell phone when the cashier checks me out at the grocery store, look her in the eyes, and thank her for her kindness in ringing up my groceries.

I don’t have millions to give to help the homeless or put food in the bellies of children who need it but I can clip some coupons and donate the money I saved to a local charity.

I can look people in the eye when they speak to me, I can smile in return and with all of my heart wish them a good day. Who knows, they just might have one as a direct result of my wishing. Stranger things have happened.

I truly believe that the biggest difference you can make in the world requires the ability to see people with your heart rather than your eyes or your preconceived notions, and to then take your heart and lift it up into your smile.

We all make a difference every day. The tiniest drop of water can lead to a wave and just because I don’t get to see my drop roll into that crashing tide doesn’t mean that I’m not contributing.

I consider myself a very contented person, but I have a yearning and I think that yearning defines who we really are. I know a lot of you have that same yearning and I just wanted to let you know that you are making a difference. Just because you may not be able to make massive efforts on a grand scale doesn’t mean your efforts aren’t just as effective and rippling out just as far.

~tucks away her soap box~

And now on to the food.

Have mercy, this is some good food right here. Good old poor people food and you know poor folks have always known how to cook good food because we know how to make do with what we have and we can season a dish from start to finish with salt, pepper, a ham bone, and hope. I think about poor old Donald Trump up in his penthouse sometime and just can’t help but feel mournfully sorry for him. All the world is ready to serve him Filet mignon but not a soul around to make the guy a big old pot of pintos. Man we got it good.

Remember when I showed you that easy peasy ham glaze and told you to save your ham bone? Well pull that puppy out, we’re ’bout to fix us some supper!

You’ll need: Onion, Smoked Sausage (half of what is pictured), a bay leaf (optional), minced garlic (Jar, fresh, or dried, I’m using dried), Cayenne (just a pinch), Seasoned salt, and a big old ham bone. You’ll also need some salt and pepper (not pictured) and some red beans, pictured below.

*I get asked the difference between dinner and supper a lot and I think the meanings vary for a lot of people but I’ll be glad to tell you what they mean in my house. Supper is what we eat in the evenings. It is kind of an every day of the week meal. Dinner, tends to be a bigger to-do type meal. Such as Sunday Dinner, Easter Dinner, Thanksgiving Dinner, etc. It can be served at supper or lunch time but is a bigger meal and usually for an occasion (Sundays are occasions).

Traditional red beans and rice has you using small red beans, like pictured above, but some folks can’t find those and just use kidney beans.

Either one will work just fine so you just grab what you see first or use what you have on hand. Any sticklers for tradition who tell you that you are doing it wrong can go get their supper in a drive through somewhere while you and yours enjoy the delicious food you’re gonna turn out.

You know how I feel about this…

~giggles~

This is a vinyl decal. In a week or so (depending on when I have time to finish working on it), There will be a Southern Plate store online. I am doing this purely on a trial basis to see how it goes and if I have time to keep it up, etc. (Update: That ship done sailed. Tried it, discovered I’m not a salesman because I prefer to give things away, but if you’d like to help support me, you can order one of my books on amazon and I’d surely appreciate it. First book. Second book.)

But today, just for kicks and because I think they’re so cute, I’m going to pick five folks from those who comment on this post and mail them each one of these decals. It is 4″x4″ and can go on the back of your car, a window, a notebook, or wherever you want. You know, whatever cranks yer tractor! Update: Giveaway is over, winners below.

I’ll pick five people tomorrow night and come in here and list their names right in this very section of the post:

1. Pam Elkin

2. Sara Jones

3.  Susan L (primitive44)

4. Patricia Wesdel

5. Patsy Coats

I’ll also email the winners and let them know. Of course, these vinyl whosiewhatits will be available to everyone once we get the store open, too.

Sort through your beans and place them in a pot. Cover them with water. Let them sit overnight.

What is “sorting beans” you ask? Well sometimes (often times actually) when you get dried beans you’ll find tiny stones in them amongst the beans. This is just one of those things. I mean, beans are grown in the dirt, stones happen. You just pour a few into your hand, make sure there are no stones, and then pour that handful into your pot and repeat.

In the morning they will look like this. Now drain off that water.

Here is what we have left. They lost a little of their redness. Guess they needed a bath.

Add in all of your other ingredients, including the big old ham bone.

You can’t see it in this photo because I haven’t put it in yet.

My ham bone had a lot of meat on it and hen I started to put it in for this photo it covered up all of the other ingredients so I had to take it out to show those.

Now fill that pot with water (see my hambone floating about in there now?). Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer several hours, or until tender.

 I put mine on in the morning when the kids leave for school and simmer them all day long. you don’t have to cook them that long but it gives you a nice rich potliquor if you do (that is the thick juice in the beans that you can soak up with cornbread or just stir into your rice when you eat it).

I just sliced my sausage a bit and put in about a cup or so. You can use more or less depending on what you have on hand.

You can also leave it out entirely if you like.

You could even use weenies to save money.

This is how it looks after I’ve cooked it down to a nice thick liquid all day.

Remove your bay leaf and throw that away and make your rice.

For this tutorial I’m just using some brown boil-in-the-bag rice

Serve atop hot, cooked rice.

Dive in and be thankful for the good sense to enjoy the simple things in life.

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 ham bone with a little meat still on it (or a lot!)
  • 1 bag small dried red beans (about two cups or so)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 heaping teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper, or more to taste*
  • 1 cup or so of smoked sausage, sliced (can just use weenies if you like)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Rice, cooked according to package directions

Instructions

  1. Sort beans (look through them all and make sure there are not small stones) and place in large pot. Cover with water and let soak overnight.
  2. Drain off water and cover with water again, adding several more inches over the top. Add all ingredients except for sausage. Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for several hours, or until beans are done. The longer you simmer it, the thicker and more flavorful your juice will be.
  3. About an hour before serving, stir in smoked sausage. Serve over hot rice.*
  4. *This is not a spicy dish so if you prefer it to be more spicy, use more cayenne.
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People often say that motivation doesn’t last.
Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

~Zig Ziglar

To submit your quote or read more, please click here. (At first I typed “please lick here”. Boy would that have been odd should everyone do it!)

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Comments

  1. Mindy says

    Oh my goodness! That is so funny! I’m from Mobile and I honestly didn’t know people used any other kind until I was grown. It is made in Evergreen and I promise you, one bite and you will LOVE it. I love it plain, but my favorite way to eat it is boiled with large limas, onions, and garlic salt. Add in a hunk of cornbread and you are in heaven! I don’t know about up your way, but down here it’s available in all major grocery stores (Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart, Target, etc) Thanks for the site, it has been so helpful and truly inspiring to me.

  2. Catherine says

    I wash my beans to get the dirt off, and pick out rocks and discolored beans. And I love using andouille sausage! Some chopped celery and onion…we don’t do green pepper because hubby hates it. With the andouille, no extra spices, it’s spicy enough for us!

  3. Laurie Stone says

    OKAY girlie…..you are the first person to ever talk me into using dried beans in anything. Well…rephrase…..I make dried limas or blk eyes in the crockpot. I never soak or anything. Just put them in the pot, throw in some fatmeat, cover with water and cook them to death. They always fall apart. Prob cuz I dont soak or let them cook too long. Didnt I tell you I LOVE YOU! LS

  4. Joan Truxillo says

    We LOVE well-seasoned Red Beans and Rice…My mother-in-law loved
    to tell us how she put on that big pot of Red Beans on Monday Wash Day
    in New Orleans and they cooked all day while she washed the families
    clothes…The 6 kids and husband were waiting in line to eat whene the
    wash and the beans were done! Amazing to see how they are now on
    the menu for all price restaurants in the area.

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