Growing up in the south and having my Mom and her familyfrom Louisiana, I have eaten my fair share of classic Cajun foods (which is a food ‘group’ I love!). There are so many of these classic Cajun/Southern foods I could have featured this week as part of my Mardi Gras week. But one of my absolute favorites is good ole’ Red Beans and Rice. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love red beans and rice! It is so simple yet packed with flavor and an inexpensive meal to boot!
This meal is very versatile. Mine has sausage, however you could leave it out and use vegetable broth to make this a hearty vegetarian meal. Also my original recipe uses dried beans, because I love the taste and how inexpensive dried beans are. Since I am using dried beans I cooked this in my crock-pot, which I have always had great luck using to cook dried beans. But I know some people don’t have the time or patience to let dried beans soak and cook this meal in the crock-pot, so I have also included directions to use can beans and cook this on the stove top. Either way you have a great recipe for a classic Cajun meal!
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1 pound dried red kidney beans**
6 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
11/2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
½ large onion, diced
3 cups cooked rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse and pick through beans discarding any broken or discolored beans. Place beans in a large pot and cover with two inches of water. Heat beans to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Cover, turn off heat and let beans soak for 1 ½ hours.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium heat. Add sliced sausage and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until done. Set aside.
After soaking, drain and rinse beans. Place soaked beans in large stock pot and add beef broth. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
Carefully transfer bean mixture to crock-pot and add bay leaf, hot sauce, creole seasoning, garlic, bell peppers, onions, celery, and cooked sausage. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Once beans are cooked, add hot cooked rice, season with salt and pepper and serve.
**Chef Note: Three (15 ounce) cans of red kidney beans can be substituted for the dried beans. Simply drain and rinse the beans. Combine the beans with the remaining ingredients (including precooked sausage) as directed in a large pot. Cook bean mixture over medium heat for 15 minutes. Once beans are cooked stir in rice and serve.