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I'm a Michigan native, and don't do a lot of creole cooking, but I enjoy french creole food quite a bit. I developed this vegan version of the classic New Orleans recipe for my fiancee. It is a healthier version of the original that nobody will object to. You can add ham or sausage for a more traditional take. Traditionally this dish was made for Monday supper with the left over ham bone from Sunday. It could simmer away on the back of the stove while folks were buisy with the Monday laundry.
- Soak the red beans at least 24 hours, longer if you have the time.
- Place the beans in a 4qt pot with a lid. Cover wit the water they have soaked inches Add more water to make about 5 cups.
- Add 2-3 bay leaves to the mixture, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are soft. This can take about 45 minutes depending on the beans.
- Take the diced vegetables and place them in the bottom of a crock pot or stock pot. Add the tyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Take about two cups of the bean liquid out of the pot. Save this liquid.
- Now pour the beans and remaining liquid over the vegetables in the crock pot. Add just enough of the extra liquid to cover the beans and vegetables. You may not have much extra bean liquid after this, but that's OK, just add water if you have to.
- Simmer this mixture for at least two hours, longer if you can. I like to start in the morning and leave the mixture in the crock pot until dinner. If the liquid begins to boil away, add more of the bean liquid or water to keep everything covered.
- Once the vegetables have fallen apart, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. This should thicken the liquid to a gravy consistency.
- Let the mix simmer while you make the rice.
- Make the rice in another pot. Add 1c rice and 2c cold water, a dash of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is gone. Fluff with a fork before serving.
- To serve, put a big helping of rice on a plate. Cover with the red bean mixture. Serve with hot sauce.
- Note: To make a non-vegan version of this recipe just cook a ham bone with the beans. You can also add chopped ham or sausage to the mix, or serve with a porkchop or sausage on the side. You can vary the spices to your taste, but the bay, tyme, bell pepper, onion and celery make the basic flavor of the recipe so don't omit them.
This was great! I actually used 1/2 cup red lentils instead of the red beans and cooked it on the stovetop (takes a lot less time). The blend of vegetables and spices was amazing! And, very low Weight Watchers Points - 3 for 1/2 of the pot! Thanks for the great suggestion!