Editor’s note: Gina Lee is general manager of the Garden & Gun Club at the Battery Atlanta. The restaurant serves her red beans and rice on special occasions, including Fat Tuesday (February 25), in celebration of Mardi Gras.
This recipe is the result of an amalgamation of techniques that I learned while cooking the food of my childhood, Korean, and my time working at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Most red bean recipes have all the ingredients together from start to finish, but I cook the meat and vegetables separately to save the aroma of the holy trinity (the mirepoix of Cajun/Creole cooking—celery, bell peppers, and onions). A story I overheard in New Orleans is another reason I keep the ingredients separate—they say seasoning your beans too early makes the beans’ skin become tough. Stirring in a little drop of vinegar at the end brightens the beans’ flavor—this is a trick I learned from my neighbor in New Orleans and I apply it to all recipes that call for beans. This dish brings a taste of New Orleans into your kitchen no matter where you live. I hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as my friends and family do.