Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Red Beans and Rice pt. 2

After letting my pickled pork shoulder sit for four days, I was ready to cook up the beans for Sunday's sunny BBQ. The method I used here is the one I like use for all beans: slowly saute all the aromatics, then transfer everything into a deep pan. Cover with salted water and braise at a low temperature in the oven.

For 1.5 lbs Red Kidney Beans, I used:
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh oregeno
  • 4-5 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbps cayenne
  • 1.5 lbs pickled pork

About beans and salt: I like to season my beans aggressively from the outset. There is an old adage which warns against seasoning your beans too soon, because the salt allegedly toughens the beans. I have never found this to be true. On the contrary, I have found that beans seasoned early are plump and delicious. Also, by seasoning early, the beans have a chance to absorb the salt as they cook. If they are seasoned after the braise, they won't have the same opportunity – imagine cooking an unseasoned steak, then sprinkling some salt on at the end.

Also, I chose not to soak my beans. My reasoning was to give the pork adequate time to braise along with the beans. Red Kidney Beans take a relatively short amount of time before they become tender, about 3 hours. If I had soaked the beans, they would have turned to mush by the time the pork had become tender.

This was probably the best batch of beans I have ever cooked up. My only regret was that I used too little pork. I discovered half-way through the pickling process that the pickled shoulder meat was delicious sliced thinly and seared on a smoking-hot cast-iron pan or grill. By the time it came time to cook the beans, I had already gone through a third of my pickle.


  1. I greatly regret not getting to try this.

  2. ditto! but i'm ALMOST done with school, so here's hoping for a BBQ-filled summer!

  3. I had to laugh when I read how the pickled pork disappeared along the way.

    When I make jerky I have to prep 2-3 times as much meat as I plan to actually have on-hand at the end of the drying process, because my family is completely unable to walk past a drying rack without helping themselves . . .