In a simple dish like red beans, it’s imperative the beans are “good.” Old beans regardless of soaking or cooking times will not completely soften. To ensure my beans are of good quality, I order directly from Camellias beans.
New Orleans is one of my favorite eating cities in America. One dish everyone should be required to taste is red beans and rice. Simple ingredients transform humble beginnings into a silky, smokey, spicy pot of greatness.
I made a hock stock prior to making the red beans. Fill a large pot with water (12-15 cups)completely covering the hocks. Bring to a boil, cover reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 2-3 hours, until stock is cloudy and hocks are tender. Can make stock, the night before and refrigerate(once cooled) overnight while beans soak.
The night before preparing place beans in a large bowl and cover with 6 cups cold water. 12-16 hours later, drain and rinse.
In a large Dutch oven add bacon grease or oil to medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Add salt and cook, until vegetables are soft, stir often. Once slightly browned add garlic and cook, stirring, until for a minute. Add cayenne pepper, and 15 grinds of fresh black pepper. Stir well to combine. Add beans, along with hock stock, hocks and bay leave. If stock fails to cover beans, add water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer. Cook beans uncovered until beans are tender 2 -2 1/2 hours.
Using a large wooden spoon, mash 1/4 of beans against side of pot or use an immersion blender.
Once hocks have cooked, pick meat disguard bones and skin, return meat to pot. Serve with white rice.