[Note: This post was submitted as part of Sortacrunchy's "Your Green Resource."]
Our weather has finally turned to fall. Today is gray and wet, and it won't top 70. I don't think we'll turn the air on again. Foremost on my mind: how will I keep my baby warm this winter? We are on gas heat, and I typically keep the thermostat at 65 (yes, I hear your gasps. Don't act like I haven't told you I'm ridiculously cheap). Young baby might be in mittens and booties all winter long!
After I get finished thinking about that, my mind turns to recipes. When it's hot, I loathe turning on the stove even for a few minutes. When it's cold, I want things to simmer away all day. My mom used to make ham and beans with cornbread on winter evenings, so I have a memory imprinted of that smell. This recipe is a good back-burner bubbler. Soaking the beans ahead of time is key.
Red Beans & Sausage
(adapted from Everyday Food)
1 lb spicy andouille sausage
1 lb dry red beans
1 onion (we were out and I used like 2 T onion powder), chopped fine
2 cloves garlic (we were out (what!? It was a hard week and I didn't make it to the store) so I used 1 t garlic powder), minced
4 1/2 C water or chicken stock (I used a mix of the two)
salt and pepper
Rinse and drain the beans and pick through them for any little rocks or shriveled beans. Fill a bowl with beans and water enough to cover by two inches. Soak beans for at least six hours - overnight is even better. Drain beans.
Cut sausages in half lengthwise, and then into chunks. Place into a large Dutch oven on medium heat. Allow to cook until crisp and plenty of fat has rendered out. Pull sausage out and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Place onions and garlic into Dutch oven in sausage fat. Cook until quite soft - maybe seven or eight minutes. Add drained beans and water/chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are tender. This depends on your water quality (hardness or softness), how long they soaked, and the alignment of the stars. Just test one after half an hour and see if it's good.
Once beans are done, put sausage back into the pot and cook until heated through. Serve with brown rice or cornbread and hot sauce.