By Marica Mackenroth
Typically the start of the work week brings things like morning traffic or football to mind.
In New Orleans, this is true, but it also makes our tummies growl, as Mondays in the Crescent City mean that it’s time for red beans and rice.
While it’s hard to get meals around here without a side of tradition, this Creole dish is welcomed in restaurants, diners and domestic homes alike for its simple spicy goodness. Commonly cooked slowly over time and served over rice, give yourself a splash of Tabasco sauce and a slice of buttered bread and you are set to give your taste buds a treat. You could also go a step farther, and throw in some smoked sausage and cornbread.
Like crawfish, “red beans” as we call it, is served at large gatherings like Super Bowl parties and Mardi Gras. You can also find it at almost any festival or fair in New Orleans, as it’s easy to make in large quantities while keeping its rich, flavorful integrity.
So why does this dish get its very own, designated day of the week? Well, legend has it that it’s because years ago, ham was the customary Sunday meal and Monday was typically washday. Put those two together, and you get a savory, ham-based concoction that could sit on the stove and cook while women were busy doing the laundry.
These days you don’t have to wait hours upon hours to feast on your beans. Modern day society has created “ready made” cans of red beans that you can simply heat up and serve over rice, with “Blue Runner” being the favorite brand amongst locals.
Be sure not to look over the option when you dine in the Big Easy, as many restaurants take tasty spins on the dish.
Remember, there has to be a reason Louis Armstrong signed autographs, “Red Beans and Ricely yours.”
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