During the cold snap, I wanted some hearty goodness. I remembered some leftover pork roast, and it started a memory hole.
I took the job I have now in 1997. My manager's office was in SE Houston, just inside the beltway. I think the address was on Fuqua. Don't ask, I never could get that right. He delighted in pronouncing it as pornographically as possible.
My manager took to me to Pe-Te's on Highway 3, right across the road from Ellington Field. Like every great place to eat, it looked like a shack. Gravel parking lot, LOADED with real folks and that weirdly Houston poser/zipper-head type guy. If you've been there for a while, you know what I mean.
Most are carrying these styrofoam to go cups, with steam billowing out, and the smells are heavenly. Jim says, "just get a medium, that's plenty." So, I order a medium red beans and rice, with sweet tea. As we sat down, I looked around. Pictures and license plates on the walls so thick you couldn't see what was under them. Poloroids or Kodak snaps, not framed stuff. Astronauts, pilots in front of jets, lots of history hanging there. It's right across from an Air Force base, makes perfect sense, they know good food.
And the food!!! WOW! Very good, better than I ever deserved to eat.
I decided to make something that at least looked like what I remember. I had to go to the gettin-place to pick up some spicy that I didn't have handy.
I took the completed mess to my epicurean daughter, to get her reaction. She was smitten. It turned out really tasty, and it kept me warm and windy for most of the week.
My daughter asked me for the recipe, and I thought you might like to make some.
Pe-Te's red beans and rice (well, almost a reasonable facsimile)
Cook up a pork shoulder roast. Easy peasy. Sear before cooking, simple spices: salt,pepper, cut onions, some coffee (not stale!) Slow cooker until falling apart tender. Optional step: hide on the bottom shelf of the fridge until you forget about it. Cut it up a bit, then mash it. Instant pulled pork.
Cook up some red kidney beans, I used dried ones and put them in the slow cooker. Spice to taste: cut onions, salt and pepper.
Louisiana brand Cajun Seasoning AND Frank's Red Hot.
Realize you've never made rice before. Read how ridiculously easy it is. Get ready to fail, cause it seems to always happen. Cook the rice and be surprised at how easy it is. (beginner's luck)
Take a quart or so of the beans and juice in a big bowl, add in a few heaping heated piles of pulled pork roast. Add too much cajun seasoning by pouring instead of shaking . Open Frank's Red Hot, and make a mess on the cabinet. In disgust, forget to put the top back on, and pour entirely too much into the beans and meat. Mix well. Drop rice by rounded serving spoonfuls between the stove and cabinet. Move the bowl to the stove and try again. Spread the rice around, and drop the near nuclear waste beans and meat mixture on top. Serve to unsuspecting family members.
After Action Report:
I made enough to last the entire week... It was really tasty, and was close enough to the original to give me a memory jog about the good days. Days when my company was like a family, and not another major, international, corporate playground for lawyers and cpa's to foul up.