This is a recipe sure to please on a cool fall or winter day.
16 oz. Dried Beans (Red Beans, Kidney Beans or Pinto Beans)
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1-2 pounds Smoked Sausage, sliced in 1/2 inch or so “buttons”
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Green Bell pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)
Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)
Optional Seasonings (see bottom of recipe)
Soak the beans overnight before cooking. If you forget, or don’t want to wait overnight, this is a “quick soak” method that works pretty well. Put beans in a pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches or so, bring to a boil, turn off heat, let sit for an hour in the hot water. Drain water, rinse beans and return to pot with enough water to cover by an inch or so. Begin the process from here as if you had soaked the beans overnight.
Bring soaked and rinsed beans, with enough water to cover by an inch or so, to a boil and lower heat to a simmer and cover. You may want to check the beans every now and then while they simmer to make sure they have enough water to keep them covered.
While the beans are coming up to heat, saute the sausage, onions, bell pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic in olive oil over low heat until the sausage starts to brown and the vegetables soften well. Turn off heat and leave in pan until the beans are ready for the sauteed ingredients.
After the beans have cooked for an hour, stir in the sauteed ingredients and taste for seasoning. Add salt and black pepper to taste, and continue to simmer until the beans are tender. Total simmer time will vary, but usually is 1.5 to 2 hours or so.
Variations for seasonings are adding some Chili Power for Southwest style Pinto Beans; adding Oregano, Thyme and Basil to Kidney Beans for Mediterranean Style beans; or adding Cajun or Creole style seasonings to Red Beans for a taste of New Orleans.
Serve over rice or homemade corn bread, optionally topped with some freshly diced sweet onion.