Confession time: I love Popeye's fried chicken and particularly their Red Beans and Rice. So I searched online for recipes and created my own version. It's delicious, easy, and can generously feed 6-8 people for ~$10. Though optional, try adding the lard. It gives the whole dish a velvety mouthfeel. —HalfPint
dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight then drained
smoked ham hock/pork chop/turkey leg/ham shank, ~1/2-1lb
chopped garlic or 3 whole cloves garlic
In a pot, add everything except lard (if using) and salt. . Bring to boil and then simmer until the beans are soft, about ~1-1.5 hrs. Add more water if the level gets below the beans. Scoop out about 2 cups cooked beans and set aside.
Alternatively, you can put all the ingredients (except lard & salt) in a slow cooker and cook 4-5 hours on Low or 3 hours on High, until the beans are tender. Reserve the 2 cups of cooked beans.
If the smoked meat is not tender, cook until it is so. Otherwise, turn off heat. Remove the smoked meat from the pot. Remove any meat from the bone, discarding any fat or skin. Roughly chop the meat and return it to the pot.
Puree the mixture in the pot with a immersion blender or using a blender or food processor. It doesn't need to be smooth and can have little bits of beans.
Return mixture to low heat and add reserved whole beans and lard, if using. Taste and add salt if needed. Add more cayenne or red pepper if you want it spicier. Traditionally, it's not a very spicy dish. There should just enough for a mild warmth.