Cajun Bean is a variant of red bean which is synonymous with Cajun or Creole dishes. The red beans along with rice is a staple dish of the American-African population living in the provinces of Louisiana and New Orleans. Many culinary experts believe that Cajun bean can be an ideal slow –food dish because it can be easily added to a crock pot, or slow cooker on a winter evening. It has been noticed instead that the Cajun cuisine supports such foods during the hot summers.
History of Cajun Bean
At the time of Haitian slave rebellion many rich white sugar planters arrived in Louisiana and settled in areas where the French population resided in large numbers. These white sugar planters brought red Caribbean beans and rice with them. Rice and red beans were introduced into the New Orleans French Quarter. The dish became a quick fixture in Cajun cuisine of New Orleans.
Cajun Bean Recipe: Ingredients and Method of Preparation
Cajun red beans should be soaked in water for atleast 2 hours before cooking. Onion, garlic, celery, ham, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt, are some of the regular ingredients used in the preparation of Cajun bean dish. The dish preparation begins by sautéing onion, garlic and celery. At times, bell pepper is used for an added flavor. The vegetables are chopped finely, so that they melt away completely when the dish is prepared. The beans and water are added to the dish along with hams. Hams are included after dicing. Seasoning is done with ingredients like cayenne pepper, bay leaf, thyme and salt. Even though Cajun and Creole cooking is often associated with spiciness, the red beans are cooked with mild flavored ingredients and it is served with hot sauce.
It may take more than a hour to cook these red beans. The texture of the dish largely depends on the cooking time. The creamy effect is desirable but the beans should remain firm. Some cooks prefer mashing up about quarter of beans in the last half hour of cooking time. The creaminess of the beans is also accentuated by adding butter in the last half an hour of cooking time. Some traditional cooks prefer cooking smoked sausages along with the bean but mostly it is cooked beside the dish.
Cajun Bean Recipe Variants
- Cajun Bean Soup: Dried or fresh beans can be used in the preparation of the soup. Lemon juice, stewed tomatoes, Cajun spices, and ham are used in the preparation of the soup. Beans are soaked overnight and boiled with water, other ingredients are added to the soup and simmered for about 3 hours. Spices are added towards the end of the cooking time. This soup is good to be served with any traditional bread.
- Cajun Salad: This salad prepared using red Cajun bean is good to be served during all picnics, family reunions and other occasions. Chickpeas, black eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, onion, whole kernels, green, red, and yellow bell peppers are needed to make this dish. The dressing is prepared by combining dry Mexican chilies with cloves of garlic, corn oil, sugar, salt and white wine vinegar. This cajun bean salad is chilled before serving.