As all regular TJOTJOC readers know, I absolutely love New Orleans. It's easily my favorite city in the US. I like everything about it--the people are interesting, the bars are intimate and fun (assuming you aren't on Bourbon street), the food is amazing, and there are places with interesting historical significance everywhere you turn. So it seemed to be the absolute perfect place to have my bachelorette party! My bridesmaids all met me down there for a weekend of fun. I went down a couple of days early because one of my very best friends since sixth grade also lives in NOLA. Erin has been consistently supportive of TJOTJOC since it's inception and proposed that we make a New Orleans recipe out of TJOC while I was down there--a perfect idea!
(I also gifted her with a copy for her birthday and it was very rewarding to give TJOC to someone who loves it as much as I do).
We settled on Red beans and rice (p. 256) partially because it's my very favorite New Orleans dish and I order it obsessively while I'm down there. I really loved being able to get authentic andouille too--if I made the dish in Fort Collins I would have had to use Kielbasa which is totally different.
In a stockpot we combined water, ham hocks, celery, onions, bell peppers, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, pepper, and ground red pepper. We also included a little of my dad's incredibly incredibly hot pepper powder mix (if you want some, send me an email, I'm sure he would be willing to part with some more).
It was cooked for about an hour and then the ham hock was removed. The beans (quick soaked) were added and the concoction was cooked for another hour.
The ham was shredded off the bone--this is Erin shredding. (I'm sorry I cut off your head in this picture! Next time I come, we will take a better picture with us and the food)
The meat from the ham hocks, along with a pound of smoked andouille sausage (sliced diagonally), was added back to the red beans.
The red beans were then ladled onto rice:
So how was it? Absolutely delicious. And very very authentic tasting. I know what you all are thinking--how would Jessica the Iowan/Coloradoan know authentic New Orleans cuisine? Well, I wouldn't. But Erin and her boyfriend Jian (a native!) would--and they both said it was excellent. I'm sometimes critical of the authenticity of TJOC's ethnic or regional recipes but this one was really good and I'm now very hopeful for their gumbo and jambalaya recipes.
The bachelorette party went extremely well and was incredibly fun! I can't wait to get back to the Big Easy.