For two years as a young child, my family lived in New Orleans, mecca of all things Cajun, Creole and absurdly delicious.
It was there that we were introduced to gumbo, jambalaya, king cakes, beignets, pain perdu and, last but certainly not least, red beans and rice.
I’m quite certain there are as many different ways to make red beans and rice as there are Cajun and Creole dialects. However, my mom’s version was always the quintessential dish I’ve tried to duplicate for 20 years now.
I never did it.
I’ve made delicious versions. I’ve made them stovetop, in the slow cooker and in a pressure cooker. They never turned out like my mom’s, and I was disappointed every single time.
So, I let go of my expectations, as expectations are really the root of so many problems.
Then, I cooked a ham over the holidays. When I saw that big, juicy hambone, I knew I had to make another attempt at red beans and rice because, as you may or may not know, the ham bone is the piece de resistance of the dish. It adds amazing flavor and the gelatin in the bone itself helps thicken the sauce.
I made this dish recently and while it wasn’t my mom’s, I liked it better. Shhhhh….don’t tell mom!
Red Beans and Rice
1 lb dried kidney beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
32 oz beef stock
1 cup water
1 large, meaty ham bone
1 lb beef smoked sausage
2 Tbsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (adjust to taste)
1 cup white rice
Rinse kidney beans and pick out stones. Soak overnight in a large pot of water with triple the amount of water to beans.
The next morning (or 8 to 10 hours later), drain beans.
In a large slow cooker, add all ingredients except rice.
Cook on HIGH setting for five hours then LOW for another three to five hours.
With about two hours left of cooking, remove approximately one cup of beans from the slow cooker with a little liquid; process until a smooth paste forms. Return to slow cooker. This will thicken the sauce.
At the end of cooking, remove the ham bone. Slice away any remaining meat on the bone and return to slow cooker. Discard bone.
Cook one cup of rice in two cups of water according to package directions. Serve bean mixture on top of rice.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 495, Calories from Fat: 157, Fat: 17 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 32 mg, Sodium: 1075 mg, Carbohydrates: 60 g, Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 26 g
View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.