Centristic Cooking: Go NOLA With Chef Jeff Henderson's Big Easy Red Beans and Rice

Life & Love | Blair Bedford | 03/27/2012 | 01:57 PM EDT

Nothing like a meal that's big on taste and easy on time...

Spring is here, and long gone are those hearty recipes that made the fall and winter months absolute bliss. But there's nothing like a good helping of red beans and rice.

Noted Chef Jeff Henderson has a quick and easy recipe that will have you yearning to be in on the streets of New Orleans.

Big Easy Red Beans and Rice Serves 10-12, adapted from ABCNews

1 pound dried red kidney beans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced celery
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound smoked turkey leg or wing
4 to 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups long-grain rice, cooked

The Method:

1. Soak the beans in water to cover for at least 24 hours, then drain.

2. Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, onion, bell pepper, celery, and flour. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Add the beans and smoked turkey and stir well. Add enough chicken broth to cover the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Once the beans are tender and seasoned, the broth should have thickened. Add more broth or water if it is too thick. The mixture should be soupy but not watery. Discard the bay leaves and thyme. Shred the smoked turkey meat (discarding the bone) and add it to the beans. Serve with white rice.

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