In New Orleans where this recipe originated, Monday was known as washing day. That meant the house staff wasn't going to have time to prepare a complicated multi course meal. Instead this recipe developed as something you could put in a pot in the morning and with almost nothing else than a bit of stirring here and there, you could have a wonderful filling meal come dinner time. This recipe is vegetarian but you can add Italian sausage, ham or a ham bone for flavoring if you are not vegetarian.
Red Beans and Rice
1 LB dry red beans
1 large white onion
1/4 c chopped parsley
2 tsp basil (fresh if you have it)
2 bay leaves
salt, black and cayenne pepper to taste (after beans have softened)
Put beans in pot of cold water with enough water to cover 3" over top of beans. Let beans soak overnight with lid on pot. Next day, rinse that water out and add fresh water to pot, with enough water to cover 2-3" over beans. Add all ingredients except for salt and bring to boil. Once boiling occurs, stir then cover and lower temp to simmer until beans are tender (3-5 hours). After beans are soft, add salt and any extra needed spices like black and cayenne pepper.
For the rice, you can use either brown or white rice. Follow package directions but add 1 tsp vinegar and 1 pinch salt to completely cooked rice. Spoon red beans and sauce over rice. Serve with crusty French bread.