Chef Scotty Scott’s Red Beans And Rice Reimagines A Southern Classic
In his debut cookbook, the social media star turned chef remixes soul food standards for a whole new school of Southern cooking.
Before Scotty Scott was known as a successful food blogger, Instagram sensation and cookbook author, he was just a single guy stretching simple meals out over the course of a week in order to get by. One of his staples was red beans and rice, a classic Louisiana Creole dish that he has a fondness for to this day.
“When I was single and just making food for myself, I’d make these big pots of red beans and rice and have to figure out what to do with it for the rest of the week,” Scott says. “So I figured out how to repurpose leftovers instead of eating the same thing every meal for a whole week.”
That spirit of reinvention is at the heart of Scott's new cookbook, Fix Me a Plate: Traditional and New School Soul Food Recipes. Red beans and rice is the first savory recipe in the book, but the beans lay the foundation for other spins on Southern classics that appear in the book’s Soul Remix section, including Scott’s Humdinger Red Bean Hummus and Cajun Red Bean Burgers.
Now that Scott is married and has two young kids, a big pot of red beans and rice is as practical as it was in his bachelor days. “To this day I still cook red beans and rice all of the time knowing that it's a meal I can reimagine and the family won't get bored eating the same thing all week. So it's become even more of a go-to now that I've got more than one mouth to feed.”
Red beans are hearty and versatile, but they don’t have the flavor profile to carry a dish on their own. Scott relies on aromatics like onion, garlic and pepper, and a Creole seasoning blend, to build a strong flavor base with earthy undertones. But what really makes Scott’s recipe sing is the inclusion of bones and broth.
Adding in chicken bones or a ham hock and leaving them in the beans for a couple of hours to cook low and slow breaks down the tissues and releases collagen and gelatin, transforming the mixture into a slurry stew. The end result is thick and rich, infused with a sense of loving warmth.
When Fatherly caught up with Scott, just a few days before his wife was due to give birth to their second child, he already had his eye on red beans and rice as a dish he’d be preparing soon after everyone arrived home.
“Not only because it's one of the dishes that I love, but also because I can make it ahead the night before,” Scott explains.” I can throw the ingredients in the crock pot to cook while we sleep. When you've got a newborn you're trying to make things as easy as possible. So it will most definitely be the rotation here.”
Scotty Scott’s Slow and Low Red Beans and Rice
- 1 lb (500 g) dried small red beans
- 1 tbsp (20 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1 tbsp (20 ml) hot sauce
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 15 oz (500 ml) can of tomato sauce
- 1 lb (500 g) andouille or smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 tsp (5 g) salt
- 1 tsp (5 g) Creole seasoning blend such as Soul Food Fit
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp (40 g) chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp (20 g) sugar
- One smoked turkey leg, turkey wing or ham hock
- 2 quarts (2L) chicken broth
- 3 cups (750 g) cooked white rice
- Rinse the beans in a colander, removing any broken beans or pebbles. Place them in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then shut off the heat and let them rest for one hour.
- Place the sausage in a large cast-iron skillet or pan and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the sausage using a slotted spoon leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
- Add the vegetable oil to the pan and add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper, then sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.
- Pour contents into a large stock pot. Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the skillet to deglaze the pan by scraping the bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Pour the contents of the skillet into the stock pot with the veggies. Add the remaining stock, beans, Creole seasoning, smoked meat, thyme, sugar, bay leaves, and tomato sauce to the pot. If beans are not totally submerged add water to cover.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer partially for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. After two hours mash some of the beans against the side of the pot with a heavy spoon to help thicken and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Serve in bowls with the prepared rice.