Celebrate Mardi Gras with red beans and rice from Southern Rail

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Happy Fat Tuesday! Mardi Gras is a season of parades, cocktails, carnivals, balls, King Cake and many longstanding traditions.

And like Mardi Gras, one Valley restaurant is built upon a solid foundation of rich traditions. For example, every Monday the restaurant Southern Rail serves crowd-pleasing red beans and rice.

Southern Rail is hosting its inaugural Mardi Gras jamboree on Tuesday. In celebration of the festive holiday, the Phoenix restaurant is holding a full day of revelry, featuring several of the Big Easy's most notable customs.

Beginning at 11 a.m., guests can "search for the baby" in their own personal King Cake ($5). Originally placed in the cake to symbolize baby Jesus, the baby has come to represent luck and prosperity for the person who finds it.

Visitors can wash down their slices of King Cake with Southern Rail's signature Sazerac ($5) while adorning themselves with specially designed Southern Rail beads.

The festivities continue into the dinner hour. Guests can enjoy live jazz, featuring some of Dixieland's greatest hits from 5 to 8 p.m.

"We've got live jazz on the patio," promises Chef Justin Beckett. "We've got beads galore. We've got red beans and rice, which is a classic New Orleans dish."

The second restaurant from the folks behind Beckett's Table, Southern Rail is soulful, warm and centered around community. From the "low-country" cooking of the coastal Carolinas, to the famous Cajun and Creole fare of New Orleans, and the slow-smoked barbecue of south Texas, the menu features Southern classics redefined by Beckett's creative signature style.

Southern Rail is the sole restaurant at The Newton, the highly anticipated multi-tenant renewal of Phoenix's iconic Beef Eaters restaurant. Located at Camelback Road and 3rd Avenue, Southern Rail is open Monday through Friday for lunch and social hour, daily for dinner, and Saturday and Sunday for brunch.

Southern Rail
300 W Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013

Event Info:
Tuesday, February 17
11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Live music 5 - 8 p.m.

Personal King Cake with baby - $5
Southern Rail's signature Sazerac - $5
Complimentary Southern Rail Mardi Gras Beads

Here is the recipe for Chef Beckett's red beans and rice:
Serves 8
1 cup bacon, chopped   
1 large yellow onion, chopped   
1 large green bell pepper, small diced   
3 cups red beans, washed   
12 ounces andouille sausage, small diced
1 cup flour               
2 ribs celery,medium diced   
2 fresh bay leaves, washed   
2 cloves garlic, shaved   
1 cup whiskey
3 quarts pork broth   
2 large pork hocks, fresh or smoked
2 cups andouille sausage, sliced in half moons
1/2 cup crystals hot sauce

In a large stockpot, on medium flame, sweat your bacon & onions till golden brown and caramelized.
Add in the small diced Andouille and continue to render out the fat.
Add in the flour and stir until it emulsifies into the fat.
Continue to cook (stirring often) on med-low flame till the flour (roux) turns golden brown.
Add in the garlic, bay leaves, celery and bell peppers; continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
De-glaze with whiskey to help lift off any of the flour that sticks to the pan.
Add the pork broth, beans and pork shanks into the pot.
Simmer until the beans are tender (approximately 50-60 minutes).
Add in the sliced andouille and hot sauce.
Remove from heat and cool.
Let sit overnight for best flavor or serve immediately.