In New Orleans, red beans and rice are a weekly tradition, typically served on Mondays. I love to eat them every year on Fat Tuesday. But one thing remains a constant: a hearty meal slow-cooked on laundry day.
Historically, Monday was wash day in early 1900s Louisiana. The laundry took all day, so women would cook the beans and meat while the laundry dried. Today, most restaurants in New Orleans still feature red beans and rice as the Monday special.
My laundry day is Sunday, but it's just as suitable for red beans and rice cooking. It takes a little advanced planning, soaking the beans starting Saturday night, but once you've gotten that out of the way, it's ridiculously easy: put all ingredients in a pot and cook for three hours.
I like to make a lot and eat the leftovers throughout the week, since the flavors only improve with time. I do, however, like to make the rice fresh each day; this method leaves it just a little bit wet, which is the perfect complement to the thick, spicy gravy of beans. Get the recipe now.