Categories: Culinary Delights, Domestic Arts, Journal
I think Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice dish is incredibly yummy. I’ve searched for their recipe without luck, and so I’ve been experimenting. I believe I have discovered the closest approximation to their dish. It came out so savory, with lots of umami.
Red Beans and Rice (Crockpot)
1 pound dried red beans
2 to 2.5 lb. smoked pork shank
3 bay leaves
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (any color), finely chopped
2 large onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. bacon fat
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1.75 to 2 quarts water
3/4 to 1 cup instant mashed potatoes
This can be made in a pot on the stove as well but requires more attention.
Sort and rinse beans, then soak overnight. Drain and rinse beans. Put the ham shank into a 4 qt. crockpot and add the beans and bay leaves. Melt the bacon fat in a saucepan; add the finely chopped vegetables and sautee until onions are translucent and veggies are softening. Mix in the thyme, cayenne, black pepper, and salt with the vegetables and stir. Pour this over the beans and ham in the crockpot. Add the water. It’s okay if some ham is exposed; it will cook down. Cover and turn the crockpot onto high for about six hours. (If using stove top, bring the mixture to a boil, then turn it down to simmer.) The goal is for the veggies to melt away into the broth as much as possible.
Remove the ham shank (it will be very tender and fall apart). Let cool a bit and then chop into small pieces. Throw away the extra fat and bones. Use a masher and mash the red beans in the pot, then return the meat to the crockpot and stir. Turn heat down to low and add the instant mashed potatoes to thicken. It is ready to serve then, but it can cook on low or warm for another hour or so.
Cook white or brown rice of your choice according to the directions on the package. Spoon rice into a bowl and ladle beans on top. Enjoy!