The other day I discovered to my dismay that I have been making red beans and rice the wrong way for several months now. The horror!
I wasn’t following a specific recipe, really, which is how it happened, I suppose. I was just throwing together some rice (brown or wild or forbidden) with some cooked beans and onions and some sliced and cooked Louisiana Hot Links. I guess I figured that hot links were the perfect accompaniment to Louisiana-style beans and rice. Seems logical, right? Upon further research I discovered that authentic red beans and rice recipes use Andouille sausage and Louisiana Hot Links are scoffed at. Looked down upon. Ridiculed. Yikes!
After the embarrassment subsided, I decided at some point I would need to make some authentic red beans and rice. I bought myself some chicken Andouille sausage at Costco around the same time that I invested in a new crockpot (with a traveling bag!), also at Costco, so I figured I was basically all set. I just needed a good crockpot recipe and some mouths to feed.
For the mouths to feed, I looked no further than just around the corner. My neighbors are always up for eating some home-cooked food. For the recipe, I decided to loosely follow the one found at Gimme Some Oven. Ali’s recipe is very simple and straightforward. I made a slightly more complicated version because I was freaked out about safely cooking red beans aaaaaand I had no idea how long they would take to cook. The last few times I tried making red beans they took waaaaaaaaaay longer than any other bean I’ve ever made in my life and that was after soaking the beans overnight! Also, the recipes I researched varied in length of cooking time, some recommending cooking the beans for 8 hours on high, others recommending to cook the beans for 8 hours on low. Hmph.
I was so nervous to serve this dish because I didn’t really taste it before setting it on the table for public consumption, I was pretty sure I hadn’t added any salt (which never happens when I’m cooking), I wasn’t a fan of how runny the sauce was and when I cooked the rice in my fancy-schmancy rice cooker that I just bought, I kind of eye-balled the ingredients because I couldn’t find the instruction booklet. I was afraid the rice would come out crunchy. (It didn’t. It did come out sticky.)
Despite all trials throughout the cooking process and the anxiety that built alongside the trials, I was so pleasantly surprised to dig into this dish and realize it was about the most amazing version of red beans and rice I had ever made. My neighbors approved, too. It was perfectly seasoned, perfectly salty, and perfectly cooked. I will make this recipe again and again and again.
- 1 lb uncooked (dry) red kidney beans (I used Mexican red beans)
- ¾ to 1 lb Andouille sausage, sliced (I recommend a pound)
- 1 T. garlic minced garlic
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium brown onion, peeled and diced
- 1 bell pepper, cored and diced
- 2 tsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp. hot sauce, or more/less to taste
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 7 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- for serving: cooked white or brown rice + thinly-sliced green onions
- Rinse the kidney beans thoroughly under water. Add the beans, seasoning, hot sauce, dried thyme, bay leaves, minced garlic and chicken stock to the bowl of a large slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on high for 2 to 4 hours, checking the beans occasionally for doneness.
- After about 2 or 3 hours of the beans cooking, saute the celery, onions, bell pepper and sausage individually in some avocado oil, adding each ingredient to the crockpot as it’s done. Stir.
- Allow all of the ingredients to cook on low for 1 to 3 more hours. Once done, you can leave the beans on the warm setting in the crockpot for several hours or while you cook your rice.
- Taste, and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. I honestly don’t think I added any salt or pepper while cooking and none while eating. Add in more hot sauce, if you’d like. Remove and discard the bay leaves before serving. (Whoops-a-daisy; forgot this step.)
- Serve immediately over rice, garnished with plenty of green onions.
For me this recipe yielded a very thin sauce. I did add a bit of cornstarch (mixed with water first) to the sauce in an effort to thicken it up slightly. I can’t say whether this worked. If it did, it wasn’t a noticeable difference. You can also mash some of the beans to thicken the sauce up a bit. I usually use this technique when making black or pinto beans and find it works nicely.