Food Snob

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.

ingredients.

  • 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

directions.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.

Recipe rating: 

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