Honestly, red beans and rice has always been a favorite dish of mine. Of course, the only place I could think of that actually sold it was Popeye’s. As a native of Georgia, the Louisiana treat always intrigued me. Of course, every time I ate Popeye’s, I just knew I wasn’t getting the real deal.
In the bottom of my heart I knew that a New Orleans style (home cooked) red beans and rice recipe was what I needed. I have found the following recipe thanks to YouTube and I’m adjusting it a bit so that it makes more sense to you home cooks who may be making it for the first time.
I have already tried this recipe and I promise you, it is –– by far –– the best red beans and rice recipe I’ve ever tasted!
Step 1: Prepping your red beans
Thanks to this nifty little beans to water ratio page, you will need to use 7.5 cups of cold water as this recipe calls for 1 pound (2.5 cups) of raw (uncooked) red beans.
Now, you may find a lot of people that are using kidney beans but y’know, there actually is a such thing as red beans so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just get the red beans.
You will need to soak the beans in cold water overnight, using your hands to sift through the beans from time to time to get some of the outer layer of grime and dirt off the beans. If you want an exact time frame, I would suggest letting the beans soak for at least 5 hours.
After the beans have soaked for at least 5 hours, pour the water and beans into a strainer and run cold water over them to help clean the beans up and remove/drain the old water, bean juice, and dirt from them. Once you feel they are clean enough, put them back into the slow cooker (with another fresh 7.5 cups of cold water) and cook them on high for about 3-6 hours. You will need to take out a bean from time to make sure they’re not still rock hard (raw).
Step 2: Mixing it all in the big pot
Around 30 minutes before you believe the beans will be done cooking, you will be preparing the secomd part of this dish.
Ingredients for 8 portions:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced or cubed: I usually throw in about 3 whole andouille sausages (cut up) depending on the size of them. You can switch things up here however you like. You can also used smoked (breakfast) sausage or hot links. I will warn you that andouille sausage can be hard to find depending on where you live. You can switch things up here and just look for any type of spicy sausage but stay away from Chorizo because I’ve tried it and it sucked.
1 cup finely diced onion (1 large onion or 2 small onions should do it. You can use whatever type of onions you like but I prefer yellow (sweet onions))
3/4 cup finely diced celery (about 75% of a stalk of celery at least) –– I use a whole stalk of celery here and I use a food processor on this
3/4 cup finely diced bell peppers (any pepper –– and if you wanna blow your head off you can use some jalapeños or other hot peppers): I like to switch things up here and use 1 whole bell pepper or 2 small bell peppers. I prefer to use the red, yellow, and orange bell peppers as it is more visually pleasing in the dish as opposed to green bell peppers. You can always switch up what types of peppers you are using to taste test this dish since there are so many peppers to choose from in this world.
4 cloves minced garlic, or 4 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 smoked ham hock (again you can switch things up here, try some smoked turkey legs or smoked pork neck bones –– whatever). Sometimes I don’t use this because it makes it more expensive so I just stick with the sausage.
2 full size bay leaves or 3-4 smaller bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme. This stuff is a really powerful spice so be careful here.
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste.
2 quarts chicken broth or water (I just use water because this mixture pretty much makes up it’s own broth, plus it seems odd to be mixing chicken broth in with what is essentially going to be a pork broth, that’s overkill). If you have chicken bouillon powder or cubes then you can use 2-4 teaspoons of that instead.
1 pound (2.5 cups) raw/uncooked red kidney beans (red beans over kidney beans preferably), soaked overnight. Make sure you rinse these thoroughly because they leave a red film in the water. Just get a strainer and rinse them down in your sink.
about 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
chopped green onions (for garnishing afterwards and mixing it in)
hot sauce (to taste) –– I’d suggest some Texas Pete or Cholula –– my first try I didn’t need any hot sauce, you have to remember that this stuff already has cayenne pepper and andouille sausage (a spicy sausage) in it and it’s already going to be fairly spicy.
As the video shows, once your beans are cooked (by themselves in the slow cooker) –– you will take them out and add them to the meat/vegetable/spices mixture then top it all off with water
Now come the patience part, because it’s gonna take 4-6 hours to boil/simmer that water down and then it turns into a gravy like substance.
An awesome addition to this meal is some Jiffy Cornbread muffins!
If you like this recipe, and my helpful side comments, then leave me a comment below!