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New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

1 lb Dried red beans -- rinsed and drained
8 c Water
2 lg Onions -- chopped
1 Bay leaf
1/4 ts Pepper
1 Meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks
1 Green pepper -- finely chopped
1 tb White vinegar
1/2 ts Hot pepper sauce
Salt (optional)
Cooked rice


In a 4- to 6-quart kettle or Dutch oven, bring beans and water to a boil. Boil briskly for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover; let beans stand for 1 hour.

Add onions, bay leaf, pepper, and ham bone or ham hocks. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 3 hours. Remove ham bone or ham hocks. When they are cool enough to handle, remove and discard bones, fat, and skin. Return meat to beans in chunks.

Mix in green pepper, vinegar, and hot-pepper sauce. Continue simmering, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are thick and very tender (2 to 2-1/2 hours). Salt to taste. Serve over rice.


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