Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cajun-Style Beans and Rice

This is a post that I created a few years back on another blog that I have long abandoned.  I decided to make this recipe today (The last time I made it was in 2006) and it turned out just as good as I remembered. 

In the version I made this evening, I used smoked neck bones and black beans.  Smoked neck bones are pretty cheap at about $2/lb and that is enough to make a pretty good size batch of beans.  If you don't have bacon, don't go running to the store to pay $4 for a package.  I didn't have bacon so I did without, and the results were just as good.   I also didn't have red beans...  But I always have black beans on hand so I improvised.

A little nutritional info...  A cup of black beans has over half your daily intake of fiber and is a good source of protein.  And it is no coincidence that beans and rice are eaten together.  When combined, the two become a complete protein (contain all 9 essential amino acids).

Tonight I had cajun-style black beans and brown rice.

Here is my recipe for red beans and rice that I posted five years ago.

1. Sweat garlic, onions, celery and bell pepper in oil until garlic and onions become translucent. Add thyme, cayenne and black pepper. If using bacon, cook before adding vegetables. Use bacon greese instead of oil to sweat vegetables.

2. Add smoked neck bone or smoked ham hock (pictured)

3. Add enough water to cover contents of pot.

4. Simmer until water is reduced by about half and pork meat becomes tender. Remove pork from pot, set aside to cool. Add beans to pot and continue to simmer. Once ham hock/neck cools, remove the meat from the bone, shred and add to pot. Keep cooking over low heat until there is only enough liquid to barely cover contents of the pot (as pictured).

5. Mash half the beans against pot with a wooden spoon. It should have the consistency of stew. If it seems too watery, keep cooking over low heat until some of the water evaporates and the beans become thick (make sure to keep stirring, because once mashed, the beans will burn easily). Adjust seasonings and serve with rice.

This recipe is nothing fancy, but makes for a pretty good side dish. I think it goes well with fried catfish and a piece of homemade cornbread. You can add as little or as much cayenne as you'd like... Just remember, cayenne is VERY spicy so add in a little at a time or you might find yourself choking down a gallon of water or even worse... sitting on the toilet for days.

I've made this dish a couple of ways, a couple of times with the pork neck and bacon and once with just the ham hock. While the ham hock yields more meat, I have to say I think it tastes better with the neck bone and bacon. The ham hock has a lot of fat, so if you're going to use it remember to skim off the grease that floats to the top of the pot.

Have ready...

2 cans red beans
1 pound smoked pork neck bone or smoked ham hock
3 piece of bacon (cut into 1/2" pieces)
1/2 c each onion, celery, bell pepper (1/4" dice)
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, over medium heat, cook bacon. Once most of the fat has rendered out of the bacon, add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Cook vegetables until onions become translucent. Add thyme and cayenne and mix with the bacon-vegetable mixture. Put neck bone into pot and add enough water to cover entire contents of pot. Turn heat on high. When the water begins to boil, turn heat down to a medium low (the water should be simmering). Cook for about an hour and a half.  Remove neck bone from pot, but continue to keep pot of vegetables on heat. With a fork, remove meat from neck bone (there won't be much of it). Add meat to pot. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne (if necessary). Add red beans and cook until beans are heated through. If it seems that there is a lot more liquid than beans, continue to cook until some of that liquid evaporates. With a large spoon, mash half the beans in the pot. Season to taste. Serve with rice.


  1. This recipe was incredible. It is well detailed and I think easy to cook. I will try this at home. Thank you.


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