Monday, October 31, 2011

C'est si bon! (Red Beans & Rice)

photo credit:  gardner48197
October had not been kind to me this year.  On the first day of this month I found myself at the graveside of my Papa, saying goodbye.  As I walked through the cemetery my feet became wet from the morning dew and a sadness hung over me as bag pipes were playing in the distance.  I hate those bag pipes, I thought to myself, they add even more sorrow.

As the bagpipes faded to taps gently playing in the background, I couldn't help but to wonder if the trumpet was a silver Stradivarius.  I listened to my cousin softly cry behind me.  I wondered why I couldn't focus, why were my senses heightened, why was I not paying attention.  So I made myself listen, cleared my head and watched as our nation's flag was presented to my Nanny.

As the sermon came to a close, a gust of wind lifted and golden leaves caught the morning light and drifted to the ground.  He had said goodbye.

Upon my return home, I showed my husband a tattered, worn cookbook held together by a band.  My Papa had offered it to me when I visited them in June, but my mom told him to keep it.  He may have moved back to Nebraska after his retirement, but his love for Southern Cuisine (Cajun cuisine in particular) remained.

Tucked inside the book, C'est Si Bon!, were even more recipes torn from magazines, newspapers and printed from websites.  We counted a dozen different gumbo recipes filled with notes, several different meatball recipes, and a myriad of other Cajun delights.  I found this ironic as I featured Cajun Chicken Pasta the day of his passing.  I almost took it down from the site, but it seemed fitting as an homage to him.

C'est Si Bon translates to it is so good! I believe that is what he strived for in the kitchen, in his life, in his family and hope that I can carry his love of the kitchen with me.  I wish I had told him that his passion for food had been an influence to me back in June, but now I can only hope he just knew.

Papa's Red Bean & Rice

1/2 lb. andoille sausage, diced and sauteed and set aside to drain
1 lb. dried red beans (soaked overnight)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup olive oil
3-4 cups water
2 tablespoons ham broth (I browned my sausage in a pan, set the sausage on a plate to drain &    deglazed the pan to create a "sausage broth")
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2-3 cups cooked rice
  1. Drain beans, discarding water, and set them aside in a pot.
  2. Place onion, celery, garlic, sausage and bay leaves in a medium mixing bowl.  Drizzle the olive oil over them and let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Pour olive oil/vegetable mixture over the beans and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add enough of the water to cover the beans and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer, add the salt, pepper and all of the flavorings to the pot and cook until the beans are tender, about 3-4 hours.  Remove the bay leaves and serve the hot beans over the rice.


Mom said...

A Wonderful tribute to your Grandpa, and he loved that his granddaughter shared the same passion for cooking..I wish he could have read your blog, he would have absolutely without a doubt been an avid fan! And that bean recipe is at least from the '80's ... he made it his, tho, thru experimentation. Yes..I will admit, he MAY have been a better cook then me!

The Great Nanny said...

Just read your wonderful tribute to Pompo. Oh he would have loved to know his cooking fedish rubbed off on you! I feel his presence daily and I believe that he in his heavenly spirit is apart of all I do and apart of all of us who remember him. He loved you so much so remember him and keep creating those dishes.