Red Beans & Rice
1 pound dried red beans (small red or kidney)
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced and quartered
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large smoked ham hock
2 - 3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere's
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cooked white rice, for serving
Pick through the beans, discarding any debris and beans that are shriveled or broken, and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, cover the beans with 3 inches of water and set aside at room temperature for 6 - 8 hours. Drain and rinse.
In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until it starts to brown, about 5 - 7 minutes. Remove the sausage and set aside. Lower heat to medium. Add the onions, peppers, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Pour 6 cups of water into the Dutch oven with the vegetables. Add the beans, ham hock, bay leaves, cajun seasoning, and Tabasco. Bring to a gentle boil, skimming off any foam as that collects on the surface. Reduce the heat to low/medium-low and cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered, for one hour. (Stir occasionally to ensure no beans are stuck to the bottom.)
Return the sausage to the Dutch oven. Continue cooking until beans are soft and creamy (or desired texture is reached), another 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours. (If a thick, gravy-like texture is desired, use a metal spoon to mash some beans against the side of the pot.)
Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cooked white rice, hot sauce, and toasted french bread.