I *love* red beans & rice! Several years ago, I made what was at the time the best I'd ever had. Unfortunately, I made it kind of 'on-the-fly' (as per my usual cooking style), and wrote nothing down. But I figured if I did it once, I could do it again, so about a year later I set out to do it again, except this time I'd measure and write everything down. Happily, I not only succeeded, but this recipe is even better than the other one! —How's it Taste?
dry red or pinto beans
smoked pork hocks/pigs ears/whatevers
each, fresh jalapeno and cayenne peppers (if you like yours a little spicier)
each, dried guajillo and pasilla de Oaxaca peppers*
chopped chipotles in adobo
mild green chili powder (optional, but recommended)
apple cider vinegar
oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons
kosher or coarse sea salt
grinds of black pepper
can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
can of tomato paste (3 oz total)
can of cheap beer**
Louisiana-style hot sauce
Valentina hot sauce
juice from 1 lime
red bell pepper, diced
yellow onion, diced
bunch fresh cilantro and/or green onions (and more Valentina) for garnish
In This Recipe
Take your bacon (high quality or cheap-ass store brand, it really doesn't make much difference in this case) your smoked pork/turkey/whatever parts, and smoke them again. Really, fire up the grill, load on the wood chips and smoke the hell out of those suckers! Make sure you have some sort of drip pan underneath to catch all of the drippings so you can add them to the beans later. (If you have a big enough grill and can fit it all on, I'd also recommend smoking your chile powders, cumin, salt, pepper, etc.) Smoke until the bacon is dark brown and crispy.
Next come the beans. I have a pressure cooker, so this recipe was written for that. If you don't have one, then cook the beans however you normally would, soaking them overnight or whatever. But with the pressure cooker there's no need for that. Take the unsoaked beans, add the water, smoked meats, guajillos and pasillas (and the other chiles, if you're using them) and add it all to the pot. Bring it up to high pressure, then turn down to low pressure and set a timer for 21 minutes. When the time's up, release pressure using the cool water method and return to the stove over med-low heat. (When you open the pot, it'll probably look like there's not nearly enough liquid, but once the beer, hot sauce and tomatoes come into play, it'll be perfect.)
In a separate pan, sauté the pepper and onions until they're brown and crispy, and deglaze with some of the beer. Scrape it all into the beans, pour in the rest of the beer and wet ingredients and add all your dry seasonings. At this point you just let it simmer away happily on low to med-low for awhile until the beans are completely softened (up to 20-30 minutes).
While the beans are simmering, cook the rice according to the manufacturer's directions (a rice cooker is highly recommended).
When everything is ready, garnish with plenty of cilantro and/or green onions. (And extra Valentina!)
*Pasilla de Oaxaca is not the same as the more common Pasilla Negro. Pasillas de Oaxaco have a much more smoky flavor and are much more expensive. If Pasilla de Oaxaca is not an option, Pasilla Negro can be substituted, though smoking it is highly recommended.
**every time I've made this, I've used el-cheapo Genesee Ice (under $4 for a 6-pack!) and it's always come out *amazing.* I can only imagine how much better it would be if I used a better beer...