Red Beans and Rice

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  1. Rinse beans. In a large Dutch oven, combine beans and 6 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or place beans in 6 cups water in Dutch oven. Cover and let soak in a cool place for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.)

  2. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to Dutch oven. Add pork hock, onion, sweet pepper, celery, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, garlic, and 6 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. (Add additional water during cooking, if necessary.)

  3. Remove pork hock. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off bone; coarsely chop meat. Discard bone.

  4. Return chopped meat to Dutch oven. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes more or until a thick gravy forms, stirring occasionally.

  5. Discard bay leaves. Stir in salt. Serve the bean mixture over hot cooked rice.

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