In New Orleans, Red Beans and Rice is a traditional dish. Historically, it was a “Monday” item, set in a large pot to simmer along while the washing was being done (I guess people washed clothes weekly then, I wish I could get away with that!) I’ve had versions that were quite simply, just red beans and rice, to more intricate dishes resembling stews rather than a simple mix. I prefer the latter, and this is one of my favorite recipes!
This recipe involves soaking small red beans overnight and then cooking them. You can get away with using a canned bean if you wish, but obviously add them much later into the cooking process. This is more of a “Delta” recipe than a super authentic N’awlins recipe, but I’ll gladly put it up next to any dish I’ve tried in the Crescent City.
Spicy or not?
This version cooked exactly as is will have a nice bit of “late heat,” though I certainly wouldn’t call it spicy. For this recipe I am using a “smoked sausage.” If you like to live on the hot side, you can substitute a spicier sausage such as andouille or a spicy andouille. Also, a tsp or 2 of cayenne pepper will certainly spice things up.
While this recipe calls for 2 lbs of smoked sausage, I usually have another 3 to 4 oz piece for each person, and butterfly it and sear it, then lay on top of the bowl. This adds a different flavor and texture to the dish.
This dish will serve 6-8, so you can easily cut it in half if necessary.
Anyway, without further ad0, here’s the recipe!
- 1 TBS canola oil
- 2 lbs smoked sausage cut into half moons
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and slivered
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and slivered
- 1 medium yellow onion slivered
- 1 medium stalk celery diced
- 2 TBS minced garlic
- 1 lb tasso ham optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 TBS kosher salt
- 1 TBS coarse ground black pepper
- 1 TBS cajun seasoning
- 1 gallon chicken stock
- 3 lbs dried small red beans soaked overnight
- cooked rice for serving
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the sausage and sear it, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage from pot and set aside.
- Add peppers, onion and celery and cook for three minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add garlic, tasso ham (if using,) bay leaves, salt, pepper and cajun seasoning and cook for 2 minutes.
- Drain beans and rinse. Add chicken stock, sausage and beans and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to a simmer, and allow to cook for 2-3 hours or until beans are softened. Remove from heat and serve with cooked rice.