March 8, 2011 8:50:51 AM PST
The Big Easy is a Hyde Park restaurant specializing in New Orleans foods

  • 1 lb dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
  • 3 tbsp bacon grease
  • 1/4 cup chopped tasso, or chopped ham
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 lb smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb smoked ham hocks
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 10 cups chicken stock, or water
  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions for garnish
  • Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

    In a large pot, heat the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

    Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the grease in the pot.

    Season with the salt, pepper and cayenne, and cook, stirring until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes.

    Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks and cook stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes.

    Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

    Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil.

    Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.

    (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.) Remove from heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.