Cajun Red Beans & Rice

A popular saying at our house is, 'It isn't a meal unless there's rice.' I'm not sure how it came about but because we're such a rice loving family, we're thankful that there's always some kind of rice dish we can incorporate into our meals. For our Low Country Boil, the appropriate rice dish to serve would be this Cajun Red Beans & Rice. Smoked sausage, red beans and the holy 'trinity' of onions, peppers and celery turn plain old rice into a flavorful side dish that can even work well as a main dish too... When making this dish, I was especially excited to have a reason to purchase a ham hock. This isn't a common ingredient in my kitchen but when I do use it, I know that it will impart some serious flavor in the dish I'm making it in. This recipe was no exception. We really enjoyed this dish because of the flavor it had. Aside from the sausage and the 'holy trinity' of onions, bell peppers and celery, the ham hock gave this a slight smokiness and depth of flavor. You can certainly make the dish without it (if it's an ingredient not commonly found at your local grocery store or butcher) but if omitted, you'll miss out on that special something that makes this dish so delicious.