Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

1 lbs dried red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed
1 lb smoked ham hocks, split
4 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 t thyme
1 lbs Andouille sausage
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 T freshly ground white pepper
3/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Cooked basmati rice
1/4 C chopped parsley
1 bunch of scallions, chopped

In a large heavy casserole, combine the beans with the ham hocks, onions, garlic, celery and green bell peppers. Add enough water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches. Stir in the bay leaves and thyme and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add water if necessary to keep the beans covered by 1/2 inch of water as they cook.

Meanwhile, prick the sausage in several places with a fork. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage, reduce the heat to moderate and cook, turning, until the sausage is well browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the sausage and keep warm. Scrape the oil in the pan into the simmering beans.

When the beans are tender, stir in the white pepper, black pepper and cayenne and season with salt. Simmer the beans for 30 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the beans over white rice, and garnish with the parsley and scallions. Cut up the ham hocks and sausage and serve on the side. Makes 8 - 10 servings.

From Judy Burks. Served at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since 1974.

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