King Cake was the star of the day on Mardi Gras, but the red beans, rice and andouille sausage weren’t half bad either. Yesterday I shared a photo of the King Cake I brought to our church for its Mardi Gras party – the party we didn’t attend – but I didn’t mention that I also prepared this red beans and rice dish too. Joe volunteered that we would make this dish, and I use the term “we” quite loosely, so he found the recipe for it. Well, that saved me five minutes. The recipe was from Paula Deen’s site, therefore I figured it would be pretty trustworthy given her reputation for knowing all about southern cooking. That was the first step in knowing the recipe might be good – a reputable source.
I followed the recipe, mostly. But I doubled it in order to have some for our dinner since we couldn’t make it to the party. Anyone who has doubled a recipe knows that things may change whether its timing or seasoning – you need to pay a bit more attention to the process. Cooking is chemistry and I really didn’t want this dish to figuratively blow up since I was cooking for other people besides my own guinea pigs (of the human variety, I mean). I was a little bit leery about whether two pounds of dried beans would be tender enough given the recipe’s cooking time and I had a deadline for delivery to the church. If it was just for my guinea pigs, I mean family, I wouldn’t worry. If the beans need another two hours to cook, dinner would be a little bit late that night. But I had a deadline. That’s why, I took the precaution to soak the beans the night before, even though Paula didn’t tell me to do so. Sorry Paula for my lack of total trust in your directions.
I cooked those beans from 10:30 in the morning in my low heat oven (remember, I have an Aga, I don’t simmer on my stove top), and by 3:00 things still looked a bit too soupy to me, so I moved them into my baking heat oven for another two hours. And they were done in time!
But that’s not how I know the recipe was good. It was good because my guinea pigs, my daughters and husband, all liked the recipe. Louisa may have initially turned up her nose a teeny bit when she heard what was for dinner, but she couldn’t deny how good I smelled when I picked her up wearing the scent of the kitchen. And she ate it without complaint.
And that’s how I know a recipe is good.