Bonjour, salute, and greetings once again, mes amis. Happy fall! Now, down in these parts of the deep south, we know it’s fall not so much by the temperature—although, it has cooled off some—but rather, by the lack of mosquitos, how the fish are biting, and the street lights popping on at 5:00 p.m. Some trees have even decided that they would grace us with a change in coloration; although, many are still blooming. And speaking of fish, I’ll tell a funny quick aside here.
I never realized that certain fish can’t be purchased or sold. That’s because some fish, while safe to eat, are considered gamefish and are prohibited from being legally sold in seafood markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and/or by individuals. One would think I would have known this, but the truth is… I never attempted to buy any of these fish. I live on the bayou; so, there’s no purpose. If we want perch or brim and whatnot, we simply grab a pole and catch it.
Now, that may seem like such a random thought for a blog post when talking about fall, but it actually ties in. See, it got me to thinking about all the small things that I’ve grown up doing but have never quite given much thought as to why I do it. One such tradition is having red beans and rice on Mondays. (Yes, that’s a thing.) And there’s a couple of caveats to this.
First, red beans and rice has been a part of Creole culture for over two hundred years and is a staple, comfort food in many Creole homes. According to historical accounts, the tradition of red beans and rice on Mondays began due to Mondays being the day most people did their laundry. Since the preparation is simple and the meal is both scrumptious and fulfilling, it is easy to understand why it quickly became a favorite. In an age when women typically prepared the family meals and did the laundry, preparing red beans and rice, just mixing the ingredients and allowing it to cook all day while the laundry was being done was easy. It also can feed large families for a relatively small cost.
I grew up on Red Beans and Rice Mondays, and to this day, it’s a tradition I tend to stick to a lot. However, I’m not as faithful about it as my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. One reason for that is the heat. Typically, on hot days, I enjoy a meal that is light and cool. Red beans and rice is definitely not that. But with the arrival of fall, it’s the perfect meal, especially to curl up and eat while reading a good book.
Experts and historians cannot agree on when the recipe first entered Creole culture. They also cannot agree on the original recipe or preparation of the dish. Another area that remains uncertain is the original recipe. There are hundreds of ways to prepare it, as no two recipes are the same. Some would argue there is no right or wrong recipe, either, but after seeing some of the ingredients some people put in their red beans and rice, I’m going to have to strongly disagree (and gag).
The following recipe is the one my family has used for generations. As with many Creole recipes, this one involves many ingredients. There are others that are much simpler to prepare and cheaper.
I use dried Creole red beans for this dish. There is a difference between a Creole red bean and another red bean, however, I won’t be getting into that here. Kidney beans are a good substitution if Creole red beans are not available. I begin by placing the beans in a slow cooker and allowing them to soak overnight. A quick tip, though, is if the beans will be on slow cook for more than ten hours, soaking them overnight is not necessary.
After the beans have soaked, drain and add butter, canola oil, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Allow to cook until the butter has melted. Stir. Add the spices (salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, basil, celery salt, thyme, onion powder, paprika, sage, and oregano). Mix well. Add tomatoes and stir. Allow to cook for approximately five minutes. Add chicken stock and stir. Add ham hock, andouille, and bay leaves. Allow to cook 8 – 10 hours.
In a pot, cook rice as directed. Serve the red beans in a bowl with a scoop of rice atop. For an alternative method, sometimes, about an hour before I’m ready to serve, I add my uncooked rice to my crockpot. This allows the rice enough time to cook without becoming overly mushy. It also allows for the flavors to really get into the rice. (Bonus, red beans and rice always taste better the next day. The same applies to gumbo.)
So, that’s all I have for a fall welcome. What’s your favorite fall recipe? Let me know your thoughts and opinions below. Oh, and if you like this post, please click the like button and share it. As they say, sharing is caring, and it does help my blog grow. If you’re not following me, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou. We have fun, and there’s no need to worry about what’s in the water. Not everything bites. Creole Bayou is a blog dedicated to all things Creole, Cajun, recipes, romance, trivia, psychology/mental health, self-help, writing, and books.
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Speaking of breaks, ex-athlete Ryker Kitsch wants his in the sports agency realm. He sees his chance to make a name for himself by helping rebrand his agency’s newly acquired hockey star, Timothée Croneau. The guy needs every lick of positive PR he can get. So, why is the devilishly gorgeous forward fighting him at every step and leaving Ryker to wonder if he’s been hired for a babysitting gig?
The mess Timothée is stirring was never in any contract Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.
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For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.
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Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.