The University of Oregon Ducks were ranked the number two college team in the nation at the end of the regular season. As one of the top four teams they participated in the national championship series. On New Year’s Day they played the Florida State University Seminoles in the Rose Bowl. We knew many of our neighbors would be watching so we sent out some last minute invitations to come over and catch the action.
Being New Year’s Day we cooked up some Red Beans and Rice which is a good luck dish for the new year; and I don’t need much encouragement to whip up a batch of the magic. I’ve made it a number of times changing things up a bit here and there. I’ve made it on the stove top and in the pressure cooker. I decided to go stove top this time. My combined recipe can be found here.
If you look closely you’ll notice I don’t have home made chicken stock. Apparently we used the rest of our stock (excuse the pun) right before we left for Christmas vacation in Illinois. I thought we still had a couple of cups but got a rude surprise when I opened the freezer. Not to worry, I used some “Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base” as my back up. Use a teaspoon with a cup of boiling water and you have a very serviceable substitute for home made. That being said, make home made chicken stock – you will NOT be sorry. The link points to a pressure cooker version using browned chicken wings. It doesn’t even have to be that hard: check out Dad Cook’s Dinner for a recipe where you just toss in a few ingredients and simmer or pressure cook for a bit.
Diced celery and green pepper are lurking beneath the chopped onions. Slowly brown the chopped bacon to render the fat. Go slowly because it will go from perfect to burnt in about 20 seconds. Remove the bacon and sauté the holy trinity for about 8 minutes. Then the aromatics of thyme, garlic, cayenne, and Hungarian paprika. Add some chicken stock, water, smoked ham hock, bay leaves, chopped fresh leaf parsley, and a dash of hot pepper sauce. Simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours in open pot or 20 minutes in a pressure cooker under high pressure.
The ham hocks I got were HUGE and shanks, not hocks. So I only used one. I’ve got another saved for some pinto beans next week.
After simmering a couple of hours the broth starts to thicken.
When the beans are close to bursting, add the andouille, take out the ham hock and shred some meat from it.
Here it is ready to be served
Herb brought some wings and there were lots of other treats so by the time half-time rolled around we were pretty full; but we all managed a small portion; most everyone went back for seconds.
This is one of my 5-star dishes. I totally recommend it as a rich, silky, wintry dish.
So much for the food. The Ducks dominated the Seminoles 59-20. But we missed a couple of touchdowns at the beginning of the third quarter when Herb, Karen, and John talked about growing up in Southeast Portland. I knew they lived somewhat close to one another so was glad they started comparing notes. Here is a paraphrase of the discussion
Person 1: “You know that stucco house on the corner of 39th and [whatever]?”
Person 2: “Yeah. That was my grandfather’s house.”
Person 1: “No, you’re thinking of the other stucco house on the corner; that was the Japanese embassy. I’m talking about the other house; it was my grandfathers.”
Person 2: “Whaaat?”
It turns out they are related in some way. Not by blood; there are step-mothers or step-fathers involved. They drew up a family tree to sort it out.
We were all pretty dumbfounded about the connection. They both talked with their aunts and relatives the next day and sure enough some of the older family members knew of each other.
I’ll be cooking up some Senate Bean Soup for the championship game on January 12; maybe we’ll find more connections. I’ll be cooking it in my new electric pressure cooker so be sure to come back to read about that.