Going South

My guess is that you don’t eat too many red beans. I say that because aside from my family, and people I have converted through force-feeding, I can’t say I’ve met too many people whose eyes light up at the mention of “red beans.” Sad, sad, sad. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Red beans are a southern specialty. And I did live in the south as a young girl, but that’s not where I learned to love them. Grandma did it. These beans were a staple at my grandparents’ farm, right here in Snohomish, Washington. Just about any time you walked through the door, you could count on being served up a bowl of beans. If they weren’t bubbling on the stove, there was probably a little stash left over in the fridge from the last batch.

The cornbread is a given. You probably already like that. This recipe is from a friend, and yes … it’s made from boxed cornbread. I have other recipes that require cornmeal, and a few I make that require I dump some dried corn in my grain mill and grind it into flour. But after you try Sonya’s no-fail recipe, you won’t ask for the others.

Grandma’s Red Beans

  • 1 lb red beans, picked over and rinsed
  • water to cover all about doubled
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Tabasco sauce (optional)

First, check over your beans to get rid of any little gray dirt balls that might be in the package. It happens. Rinse the beans well and add to the pot. I know you thought I would tell you to soak the beans overnight, but as I’ve said before, I come from a long line of bean-not-soakers. Do whatever you like, but if it was me, I’d just stick them in the pot and call it good.

Fry the bacon till fat is rendered. Remove bacon, cut or tear into pieces, and add to bean pot. Fry onions in bacon grease till carmelized, then add the entire contents to the beans and bacon. Yes, the grease too. Don’t look at me like that.

Pour water over all, at least double the depth of the beans. You’ll probably add more later. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Give it three or four healthy shakes of garlic powder. Cover and cook on low for an hour, then check to make sure the water level isn’t too low. This is what it looks like when you need to add more water:

You want broth with these beans, so just add water with that in mind. My thinking about this is that you can always cook off the excess, but if there’s too little, you won’t have enough broth. So I’m generous when I add.

Keep cooking and checking until the beans are very tender. Then take a masher and smash a few of the beans to thicken the broth. I don’t always do this, but sometimes it sounds good.

Season with more of everything if it needs it. Add four or five dashes of Tabasco if you like that.

Grandma's Dutch Oven 🙂

This is funny. After I typed up the recipe and uploaded the pictures, I realized I had already posted Grandma’s bean recipe. Well, if you want to see different pictures and read a slightly different recipe (I really spelled it out bean- and water-wise for you in the other post), click here.

Sonya’s Cornbread

  • 3 boxes Jiffy Cornbread mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 stick butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put cube of butter in a 9 x 13 pan and put pan in oven to melt butter. Check on this to make sure the butter doesn’t burn.

In mixing bowl, combine Jiffy mix, eggs, creamed corn, and sour cream. For the size of sour cream shown, I used just half.

Mix well, making sure no dry spots remain in mixing bowl. If butter is melted in pan, pull pan out of oven and scoop batter over all.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until cornbread is cooked through and edges are browning. Those browned edges are amazing … salty, buttery, crunchy … sigh.



Enjoy 🙂 (Thanks, Grandma and Sonya)


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8 Comments on "Going South"

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Dave Maltby

Let’s not forget that the antioxident level in a bowl of red beans is off the charts!

Anita Scheftner

we love red beans and rice 😀 i just tried it with some andouille sausage instead of bacon or salt pork…wow! just the right heat for me..i have a tender tongue..(i wish it were so speaking wise at times!! :D) cornbread..well…it isn’t a meal with beans unless there is cornbread 😀 Thanks Shannon!

Tera Woodward

Mom, your red beans are amazing. God has definitely given you the gift of motherhood. You have two children who are not biological, yet you fill that place of a biological mother in my heart. He blessed me with a mother like you! Thank you for all that you do! I am truly grateful!
And thanks for all the amazing food!!!!
I love you!!


YUM!!! (to the sweet comments from mother and daughter) AND the recipe. I need to get off here and make something now. 😉


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