Food & Drink

How G&G Does Red Beans & Rice

Garden & Gun Club’s Gina Lee shares her recipe for the classic New Orleans dish

photo: Farrah Power


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.


Ingredients

    • 1 lb. bag dried red kidney beans (I prefer to use Camellia's red beans)

    • 9 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, divided (4 cups to start the pot of beans and the rest added in 1 cup at a time)

    • 1 tbsp. olive oil

    • 16 oz. andouille sausage, chopped into bite-sized pieces

    • 1 tbsp. black pepper

    • 8 oz. Tasso ham, diced

    • 1 cup diced celery

    • 1½ cup diced green bell pepper

    • 2 cups diced onion

    • 2 tbsp. chopped garlic

    • 1 tsp. kosher salt

    • 1 tsp. Creole seasoning (I prefer to use Tony Chachere's)

    • ½ tsp. white vinegar

    • A few dashes of Tabasco (optional)

    • Cooked rice

    • 1 cup chopped green onions


Preparation

  1. The day before you plan to cook, soak beans overnight in water. On the day of, rinse and drain them.

  2. In a large stockpot, bring 4 cups of stock to a boil over high heat. Add the beans. Add remaining stock 1 cup at a time until beans are completely submerged. (Use any remaining stock to thin the dish as needed during cooking.) Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2-3 hours until beans are tender or to the consistency you like. Watching and stirring the pot occasionally is important to make sure you don’t have any beans that stick to the bottom. 

  3. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add andouille sausage and black pepper. Sauté 3-5 minutes until the sausage is browned. Add Tasso, celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, and remove from heat. 

  4. When the beans are tender, remove from heat and scoop about half the beans out of the pot into a big bowl.  Mash the beans with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, and add back to the pot with the reserved beans. Add the cooked sausage, Tasso, and trinity, with the pan drippings. Stir frequently to ensure that the beans don’t stick to the bottom. Keep adding stock as you see fit for the consistency you want. 

  5. Add the salt and Creole seasoning. Stir and taste test. Add more seasoning if needed. 

  6. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Add the Tabasco sauce if you like a little heat, but this is optional. 

  7. Serve with rice and top with chopped green onions. 

  8. Suggestions for sides: cornbread, braised greens