I’ve lived in southern Louisiana for nine years now so it’s about time I try to make some Red Beans and Rice from scratch. Honestly, until now, I’ve been content with buying the Bluerunner canned “Creole Cream Style Red Beans”, heating them up and tossing in some cooked sausage. But, I figure, at some point I need to learn to make them or else they’ll throw me out of Louisiana. So, I did some recipe research and finally came up with a plan. I based my recipe on the one found in The Joy of Cooking but with a few tweaks to meet my needs. The biggest debate was whether or not to buy a smoked ham hock. In the end, I didn’t get one because I wanted to simplify the ingredient list. Plus, they were sold in a pack of three and I didn’t know what I’d do with the other two. Instead, I sauteed the sausage first and used the grease from that to flavor the vegetables and broth. Truth be told, I will buy a smoked ham hock next time because I believe it will add A LOT to the final flavor profile. The beans were still amazing and I can’t wait to make it again and hone my red-bean making skills! (See notes below for directions for using a ham hock).
One more thing. This is definitely a Sunday afternoon recipe. It takes a few hours to cook but most of it is passive time so you can go do chores or something else and just check in with the beans once in a while.
Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
- 1 lb kidney beans, dry ($1.36)
- 1 medium yellow onion ($0.83)
- 3 stalks celery ($0.29)
- 1 large green bell pepper ($0.98)
- 1 lb hot sausage (andouille or kielbasa) ($3.28)
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.04)
- 4 cloves garlic ($0.09)
- 2 whole bay leaves ($0.05)
- 1 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
- 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
- 3 cubes chicken bouillon ($0.36)
- 1 tsp to taste tony chachere’s / cajun seasoning ($0.05)
- 6 sliced green onions, garnish ($0.45)
- 2 cups uncooked long grain rice ($0.60)
- The night before cooking, place your beans in a large bowl and cover with double the amount of water. Let soak at room temperature over night. If you forget to do this (like I did), begin with step 1b.
- To quick soak your beans, place them in a pot with double the amount of cold water. Bring the pot to a boil with a lid and let boil for 2 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat after two minutes and let sit, tightly covered, for one hour.
- While the beans are soaking, slice the sausage. Some people like to quarter the links lengthwise, then slice to yield small triangular bits. Some like to slice them into half moons but I prefer medallions. Saute the sausage in a large pot over medium/high heat until they are cooked through and nicely browned. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon (leave the grease) and refrigerate until later.
- Clean and dice the onion, celery, green bell pepper and garlic. Add these to the large pot containing the sausage grease and add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil if needed. Saute the vegetables until they are soft and transparent (about 10 minutes).
- Drain the soaking water off of the beans, rinse them then add them to the pot. Also add 7 cups of water, the bullion, bay leaves, thyme and oregano. Stir it all together well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly (medium) and boil until the beans are soft (without a lid, about one hour). If the mixture gets dry, add more water (mine had plenty but keep an eye on it).
- Once the beans are soft, use the back of a large spoon to smash about half of the beans against the side of the pot. This will give the beans a nice thick “creamy” texture. Add the sausage back into the pot and continue to boil the mixture until it is to your desired thickness (without a lid, mine took one more hour). Add Tony Chachere’s or other Cajun seasoning to your liking. The seasoning contains salt so you will probably not need to add that separately.
- During the last hour of cooking, prepare the rice. In another large pot, combine two cups of dry rice with 3.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil with a lid then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until all of the water has absorbed (about 30 minutes).
- Serve the beans in a bowl (about 1 cup of beans & sausage) with a pile of rice on top (.5-.75 cups of rice). Top the bowl with some freshly sliced green onions.
Step By Step Photos
Any red or light red kidney bean will work for this recipe. This brand is particularly popular in the south.
To quick soak the beans, place them in a pot with double the volume of cold water.
Boil the beans for two minutes then remove from heat, cover tightly and let sit for one hour.
There are a million brands/varieties of sausage in my area but if you can’t find Andouille, use Kielbasa or your favorite hot sausage.
Saute the sausage until it is cooked through and brown and crispy. Remove it from the pot and save it for later (refrigerate for proper food safety).
Dice and cook your celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Onion/bell pepper/celery is known as “trinity” and is the base for many souther/cajun dishes. It smells amazing!
Drain and rinse your beans then add them to the pot along with 7 cups of water, bullion, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano. Cook until beans are soft, mash them up in the pot then cook longer until it has thickened to your liking. Add Tony’s or Cajun seasoning to your taste!
Cornbread is a great friend to Red Beans n’ Rice!
NOTE: If you would like to use a ham hock, you can add it along with the beans, water and other seasonings. Allow it to boil and infuse it’s flavor as the beans cook. At the end of cooking, remove the hock and cut away the meat from the bone and skin. The cooked meat can then be added back into the pot.
I was completely amazed at how little this cost (no wonder it’s a staple dish) and how much it made. Even more amazingly, if I had not been sick and taken the time to stop at the produce market, this could have been even less expensive. I felt so guilty paying almost a whole dollar for one bell pepper and over 80 cents for an onion…
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