OK I have an admission, I am addicted to Popeye’s Chicken Red beans and rice. You can hold the chicken and the biscuts even, I just need the glorious smoky, savory red beans and rice. For years now I have worked and refined, and worked some more on exacting the flavors and texture and finally I have come up with an almost perfect replica. Without further ado, I give you:
2 cans of light red kidney beans.
1 capfull (~1tsp) Liquid smoke.
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper.
~1/2tsp garlic salt. (probably a bit more)
3-4tbsp real unsalted butter.
(I also throw in a 1/4-1/2tsp of powdered red hot pepper and a dash of garlic powder for good measure.)
Put all ingredients in a pot on medium heat until it begins to boil. Smash most of the beans with spoon as they soften to help thicken everything up and continue to cook and stir often, especially once it really begins to come together or it will scorch. I’d say about 8-10 minutes before smashing some beans, and another 20-30 cooking and stirring until they reach the right consistency which is a touch soupy but thick.
For the rice:
2 cups white rice
1 tblsp butter
1tsp garlic salt
Cook the rice as normal with the addition of the butter and garlic salt. I use a rice cooker and just toss it all in at the beginning.
(if you have time – and open arteries – render some smoked hamhocks in the oven at ~200deg and use about a 1/4c of the fat instead of the liquid smoke and butter… well maybe still a little butter too.)
Everything is inexpensive and accessible, I have tried “gourmet-ing” it up and using real garlic and high-quality spices and salt/pepper and honestly it doesn’t need it. Just stick to the basics and it will happen. By using the liquid smoke and butter you get all of the flavor and a small reduction in heart problems. It still probably isn’t health food but it is delicious!