Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's in OKC

Since we had been with my family for the Christmas holiday, we decided to spend New Year’s with Jeremy’s family. Luckily, they were willing to drive to OKC, since we were a little tired of traveling. They wanted to come see our new house, too!

Billy, Rita, Alison, Granny B, and their two dogs, Gabby and Sebastian made the long trek from West Tennessee to OKC. The night they arrived, we had dinner waiting for them. I decided to make red beans and rice, since it was a little cool out and it’s typically a crowd pleaser. I think everyone liked it.

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
3 tablespoons bacon grease
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 pound smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound smoked ham hocks
tablespoons chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock, or water (I used combo)
4 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions, garnish

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside. (Very important step- don't forget!)

In a large pot, heat the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the grease in the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.)

Remove from the heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

We played a few games, watched movies, and Alison and I decided to decorate cupcakes. We went with a red and white theme. I think they turned out pretty cute!

Somehow we made it through the entire weekend without taking a family picture! We will have to remedy that at our next get-together.

Here’s our pic in our matching pjs from last Christmas!

After several days of fun, they headed back to Tennessee. Ivy was completely exhausted!


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