Red Beans and Rice
From 100 Days of Real Food
There’s no denying that John is a pretty good sport. In two and a half years of marriage he’s been subjected to countless diets in the name of “research for my work,” most recently in the form of the Whole30. However, I think it’s only fair to point out that the Whole30 might be the most John- (and man-) friendly diet out there. Meat is allowed. The end. That fact alone is enough to persuade most guys. And on top of that, two out of the three major food groups that are banned aren’t even on John’s radar: grains and legumes. Sure, he’d like some egg noodles with his stew, but given the choice, he’d pitch the egg noodles in favor of the meaty stew any day. Not me. I’m not the biggest fan of hunks of meat. I like meat flavor, and I like ground meat and the occasional top notch steak, but at the end of the day I’m a carbs girl. I’d pick the egg noodles slathered in butter and breadcrumbs any day. In college I pretty much survived on white rice bathed in butter, salt and shredded cheese, and I wasn’t terribly bummed about it. And by the end of the Whole30, a trip through the Chipotle line had me nearly jumping over the counter to shovel beans in my mouth. If I have to look at another bowl of carnitas….ugh.
So here we are, first week post diet, and John is on a business trip eating practically the same thing he ate during the diet (with the addition of copious amounts of ketchup, I’m sure). I, on the other hand, am hitting the grains and legumes like it’s my job. All 100% whole grains of course, and the beans were cooked from scratch, but you better believe beef is not what’s for dinner. This dish is the epitome of what I was missing, so perfect as-is that I didn’t even feel my typical post-Whole30 to add cheese to everything. Cheap, easy, comfort food. What more can you ask for in February in Chicago.
- 1/2 pound dry red kidney beans, covered with 2 inches of water and soaked for at least 8 hours
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 servings brown rice, cooked
- green onions, for serving
- Louisiana or Crystal hot sauce, for serving
- Drain the beans from their soaking water and set aside.
- Place bacon in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until crispy. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
- Place onion, red pepper, celery, salt, pepper and cayenne in the pot. Saute over medium heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute one more minute.
- Add beans, crumbled bacon, water and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
- Remove lid and use a wooden spoon to smash about half of the beans against the side of the pot. Increase heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 more minutes. Stir every 5-10 minutes to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove bay leaves and serve over rice, topped with green onions and lots of hot sauce!