We're doing something a little bit different today. Instead of featuring one of our free motion quilting products from our online quilt shop, I'm going to share my favorite recipe, one I've been tweaking and perfecting since 2004.
Before we get to the recipe, I do want to briefly talk about one free motion quilting item. In fact, this is a bundle of free motion quilting tools, the three most important items Leah personally uses for her own free motion quilting.
- The first is my personal favorite, the Supreme Slider. This is a 100%, unadulterated teflon sheet that turns your quilting surface into an ice skating pond. Your fabric easily slides and moves over this sheet.
- The second is the Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washer. Other than just phonetically sounding cool, this is also a teflon-coated gadget (a thin plastic-looking washer) that goes into your bobbin casing and helps your bobbin thread glide smoothly and evenly while you quilt, completely eliminating backlash and bird's nests on the back of your quilt.
- Finally, we have the Machingers Quilting Gloves. You'll never again be late for a very important date with these stylish, white, and super grippy gloves designed by the White Rabbit himself. Practically, these gloves have a thin plastic coating over the fingertips which allow you better traction and grip while quilting. They also would be a great addition to almost any Halloween costume.
And now for the recipe...
I was born and grew up in New Orleans and I love Cajun and creole food. Depending on who you talk to, the following recipe is either Cajun or Creole, and that also depends on what goes into it and how it's made. Regardless, this is a signature New Orleans dish and something I've been perfecting for six years now.
Josh's New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice
1 bag of dry red kidney beans, soaked in a bowl overnight in your fridge
3/4 cup red onion, minced as finely as possible
1/2 cup celery, finely minced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely minced
2 smoked hamhocks (or 1 if you're using pickled pork for superior flavor)
1 32-ounce container chicken broth
32 ounces water
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 heaping Tbs Tony Chachere's Famous Creole Seasoning
1/2 tsp cayenne powder (or more if you want the red beans hot)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp natural liquid smoke
1 Tbs olive oil
Soak your beans in a large bowl overnight. The beans will triple in size so be sure you fill with enough water to cover all beans.
Finely mince your onion, bell pepper, and celery. A food chopper or food processor makes things a lot easier as you want everything almost pureed.
Add olive oil to a cast iron pot and head on medium low. Add smoked hamhock and let cook for five minutes to release flavor. Now add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Stir until onions turn translucent.
Clear a small area in the pot and add garlic. You may need to add a drop or two more oil. Stir garlic and cook for no more than a minute. DO NOT brown garlic as this turns it bitter and can ruin the dish.
When garlic is cooked -- you'll know because you'll smell it -- stir in with vegetables and hamhock.
Add parsley and bay leaves.
Season with Famous Creole Seasoning, cayenne, and ground black pepper. Forgo salt as the creole seasoning has plenty.
Stir and let the flavors come together for a minute.
Pour in chicken broth. Fill up container with water and also pour in.
Drain and rinse the beans well and then pour in the beans.
Add Liquid Smoke -- you want natural liquid smoke; you'll know because there will be no MSG or funny-sounding chemical in the ingredients -- and stir everything well.
Cook on stovetop for a minimum of five hours. The longer you cook it, the better it will taste.
You'll need to check the pot at least once every hour to top off with water and to stir. As the dish cooks, the beans will become creamy and everything will come together. Expect the beans to be watery for the first 3 or 4 hours.
Near the end of cooking remove the ham hock and bay leaves and mash beans with a potato masher if you want them more creamy. This is how Al Copeland made his red beans; they were almost a puree.
The best way to cook rice is to first rinse the dry rice several times in running water. The ratio of rice to water is 1:1; so if you're making 1/2 cup of rice, add 1/2 cup water, 2 cups of rice, add 2 cups of water, etc.
Here's a little secret... add a spoonful or two of the creamy beans to the rice and stir well before cooking.
Cover pot and cook rice on medium heat until it begins to boil. Turn on the lowest setting and cook for exactly 20 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes, still covered. Never remove the cover during the cooking process.
Serve beans over rice and garnish with green onions thickly sliced and a scattering of dried parsley. Also provide condiments like Tobasco hot pepper sauce, vinegar, and croutons.