10 April 2010

Beans and Greens Beat The Blues

A short time ago, the lurvely and talented Angie at GUMBO WRITER gifted me with a big honkin' container of Tony Cachere's Creole Seasoning, which I had heretofore had missed the pleasure of sampling. The only condition associated with the gift was that I try something new with it and post the recipe.

Now, considering that I have just now gotten off my duff, I can now present what I think is a workable recipe, one that I just made up and turned out quite well. Especially if my full belly is any guide. Herewith is my cure for the aftermath of winter blues, ladies and gentlemen, I give you:


1 pound red beans (I used some light red kidney beans)
1 head of bok choy
2 smoked ham hocks**
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
2 bay leaves
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
6-8 cups of water
Tony Cachere's Creole seasoning - 3 tablespoons for the initial boil

Pick over beans to remove any pebbles or other debris. Soak beans in enough water to cover from 6 hours to overnight. I let mine soak for about six, from morning to late afternoon. Pour off water to rinse off the beans. Drain. In a big, oven-proof pot (mine was a 5 quart cast iron dutch oven), bring 6 cups (for thicker beans) to 8 cups (for thinner beans) of water to boil, after having put the ham hocks in to start. When it starts to boil turn in the Creole seasoning, onion, garlic and bay leaf, lower the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 250 degrees Farenheit, with a rack situated to keep the bean pot in the center of the oven. After ten minutes or so of simmering, place the beans in the pot and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot, and CAREFULLY put it in the preheated oven. My target time was about 2 to 2 1/2 hours cooking time. I did scoop out some of the water before putting the beans in the oven because it seemed like too much for the amount of beans.

Start prepping the bok choy with an eye to adding it to the pot with about 35 - 40 minutes to go. Trim the bottom off the stalks. Slice the green leafy parts off the white, firm parts of the stalks. Cut stalks into thin pieces, crosswise on an angle (to make it purty) about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside. Trim the leaves a bit so that they can be stacked up in roughly equal sized pieces, in layers. If they are really wide, you may need to cut them in half again. Cut the leaves crosswise into pieces about an inch wide by two inches long. Or let them stay as ribbons, either way is good.

With about 30 minutes to go, check the beans. If they are too dry, add a little boiling water to cover. Mash a goodly portion of them against the side of the pot to thicken things up. Add the bok choy stalk pieces and stir well. Cover and put back in oven for about another twenty minutes. Check beans, add more water if necessary, and start adding the sliced leaves. Let each handful cook down for about 30 seconds, adding more until everything is in the pot. Cover and continue cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes more.

At this point, my beans had hit that stage of doneness where they were firm enough to make it to my mouth before they melted away, just right. The Creole seasoning was right where it needed to be, I didn't need to add salt or Tabasco or extra pepper. The bok choy was firm enough, adding a delightful texture and squeak and chew. I have to say, The folks in New Orleans know whereof they speak when they talk about a bit pot of greens being a tonic for thin blood tired by winter. So good, ya hurt yaself, and I could feel my blood waking up, shaking off the blues. I served my beans and greens over steamed white rice, and washed it down with a glass of pale ale. Tasty, tasty stuff!

So there you have it, my first big deal using that delish Creole seasoning. Do me a favor and pay Angie a visit (link above), tell her I sent you, and spread the love.

Oh, and this time, I remembered to take out the bay leaves, without biting on them. Whew!

*Sorry, no pictures. I was so caught up in making, eating and thinking I forgot to break out the camera to record them in all their glory.
**Later, while chewin' and thinkin', I realized that this dish still works without the ham hocks. I would increase the seasoning in the initial boil by about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon more.


  1. Yummmm! Add some mudbugs on the side and it's a partay!

    Till the beans kick in . . . ;-)

  2. Yummy. Though I've never added bok choy to my beans. We cook with Tony Chachere's all the time...

  3. Surprise surprise! Its a Saturday night in the south east of England and I'm a bit pissed!
    Theres nothing in the fridge and the only thing in the cupboard is peanut butter!
    Then I read this.....and I need beans!!
    DAM U IRISH!!!

  4. tony rocks....scrambled eggs will never be the same, but beans? never thought about that...might have to try a schprinkle!!


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