Oxford, Mississippi is one of my favorite places on earth. Quaint, small town full of culture with an abundance of art, food, music, and of course SEC football! Ole Miss fan or not, it should be on everyone’s “must go” list. I was blessed enough to live in Oxford for three years and I get back as often as I can. In fact, right now I am contently curled up on my BFF’s sofa in God’s country (Yes, that would be Oxford)! 🙂
I love all of Mississippi. How does the saying go? “You can take the girl out of Mississippi but you can’t take Mississippi out of the girl.” The Magnolia State is my birthplace; my home. And always will be. No matter where I go or what I do, forever I will be a Mississippi girl.
So it is with my cooking. It was in the Mississippi kitchens of my grandmother and my mother where I learned how to cook and developed my love for all things culinary. One of my favorite recipes, however, did not come from either of those wonderful women, nor did it come from anything remotely related to Oxford. It actually came from – are you ready for this – Starkville, MS! Yeah, I know…Oxford’s and the University of Mississippi’s biggest rival; the enemy right?!?
How in the world did that happen? What was this Rebel fan doing in Bulldog country and why would I eat anything from there, let alone assign credit? Ha ha – just kidding – I do love that part of MS as well as my MS State friends, I promise. Long story and mostly irrelevant for this post, but I can tell you that I’ve used this recipe for over 20 years and it’s one of the best (with a few little tweaks of my own)! No doubt, there are various versions of the Southern dish, especially in New Orleans and I’m not claiming to have won any awards, except with my kiddos (and that’s all that really matters anyway).
You gotta try this (and remember, it’s even better on the second day after sitting in the fridge overnight). .
Red Beans and Rice
4-5 slices bacon, fried & crumbled 1 package Bryan smoked sausage, sliced
1 package Bryan Cajun sausage, sliced 1 can beef broth
2 cans dark red kidney beans 2 cans light red kidney beans
2 cans red beans 1 can diced Rotel tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Cajun Seasoning, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Worcestershire Sauce, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Jalapenos (Old El Paso is my favorite brand) and Hot Sauce of choice (I’m a hot sauce freak so I use all kinds).
Cooked rice (I use Success Boil-in-Bag)
Fry bacon, drain on paper towels and set aside. In a small amount of bacon grease, saute’ yellow onion, half of the green onion and the bell pepper. Add sausage and continue to cook until sausage begins to get nice and brown. Then add the garlic. Coat all ingredients in a good sprinkling of Cajun seasoning and paprika, allow it to cook a little longer and then turn off the heat and allow it to sit. Fill a separate, large boiling pan with all 4 cans of beans and simmer for a few minutes. Once a slow boil begins, add the vegetables and sausage and slowly add beef broth (about half of the can). Stir well and add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and remaining seasonings to taste. Cook on very low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, add crumbled bacon. Serve over rice with remaining green onions, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and hot sauce on top! And with a piece of Texas Toast! Be sure to scoop out plenty of the yummy, juicy gravy along with your beans, as you will need this for dipping. The gravy will be fairly thin on day one, but on the second day it will have a nice, creamy texture.
**Sometimes I add the entire can of broth and at times, I add a second can of Rotel tomatoes. All of the seasonings are by taste – I don’t measure. I do usually add about 3 bay leaves and I leave them in there for flavor. And my daughter is in charge of telling everyone: “Watch out for the bay leaves and don’t eat them.” Ha! And yes, the canned beans are good! I ain’t got time for soaking beans. Just sayin. Lastly, I just like Bryan sausage and the Cajun flavored is especially good, but I’ve used other brands. I’ve also thrown in some andouille at times. Just use whatever you like.
So now that I have talked myself right into wanting a big batch of these, it’s time to go to Kroger. Calories consumed in Oxford don’t count, right?