Thick and creamy Red Beans and Rice with smoky Andouille sausage, ham hock, aromatics, a kick of spice and fresh herbs. So much flavour!
Some of the best comfort foods come right out of New Orleans, with Red Beans and Rice being right up there as the PERFECT comfort food.
Louisiana-style red beans are simmered nice and slow with cajun spices, creating a delicious lip-smacking gravy to serve with fresh cooked rice and a hot skillet filled with cornbread.
RED BEANS AND RICE
Traditionally served on a Monday with cornbread and sweet iced tea, a bowl of red beans and rice is tasty, yet inexpensive.
A heart warming meal that makes you want to curl up under a blanket on a cold winters day with fluffy socks and a jumbo-sized sweater!
Waiting around and smelling all the smells coming out of your kitchen while it simmers away on your stove is the hard part! Red beans develop into a rich and creamy gravy… tender meat falling off the bone… rich flavours marrying into each other.
HOW DO YOU MAKE RED BEANS AND RICE FROM SCRATCH?
Preparing it is easy, even though the ingredients list may look daunting and long. You already know from our Jamalaya recipe or your favourite Beef Bourguignon that a long list of ingredients means incredibly delicious results!
- ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE or Cajun sausage provides that quintessential smokiness red beans and rice is known for. Kielbasa can also be used if you can’t find andouille. Fry in oil to get those slices lightly browned.
- THE HOLY TRINITY of Cajun and Creole cooking: onion, celery and bell pepper go in next. These aromatics kick start essential southern flavours.
- SPICES can be adjusted or omitted according to your taste. We love adding cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, tomato paste and dried Italian herbs to get as much flavour as possible. Fry your sausages and veggies in those spices to get those flavours developing.
- HAM HOCK or ham shank creates an incredible ‘stock’ for your red beans, giving you tender, fall-apart meat. Shred it up with two forks and mix the meat through when it’s all done.
- WATER replaces chicken stock or broth called for in most recipes. You don’t need it with that delicious ham hock!
- DRIED KIDNEY BEANS or small red beans.
- FRESH HERBS pull it all together. Red beans cook with fresh thyme, bay leaves and parsley.
TO THICKEN RED BEANS AND RICE
After cooking, the beans will be soft with a creamy consistency. To get them even creamier:
Transfer 1/2 cup of cooked beans to a small bowl. Use a fork to mash, then stir mashed beans back into the pot. Let simmer for a further 10 minutes to get it nice and thick.
Use the back of a wooden spoon to smash some of the beans against the side of the pot.
DRIED OR CANNED BEANS?
Dried beans provide an amazing texture for Red Beans and Rice. However, you can use canned beans with minor adjustments:
Leave out the ham hock.
Use chicken broth or stock instead of water
Only add half of the liquid (3 cups instead of 6 cups)
Reduce cooking time (about 30 minutes simmering in total).
Red Beans and Rice
- 1 pound (500g) dried red beans
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 13 ounces (350g) Andouille sausage, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
- 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups chopped)
- 1 medium green bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
- 1 large celery rib, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 meaty smoked ham hock or ham shanks, (about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds, or 600g-1 kg)
- 6 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, or to taste
- Rinse beans then soak in a large bowl with water overnight. When ready to cook, drain the soaked beans, give them a rinse and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large heavy based pot over medium-high heat. Fry sausage until slightly browned while stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and fragrant.
- Season with tomato paste, Italian herbs, paprika, cajun seasoning, cumin, paprika, cayenne and thyme sprigs. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for a further minute.
- Add the ham hock, water and pre-soaked beans. Season with a pinch of salt to taste (only add about 1/8 teaspoon to start with) and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover pot. Let simmer while stirring occasionally so that the beans don't stick to the bottom of the pot, for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until beans are tender
- Carefully remove ham hock and shred meat off the bone. Stir the meat back into the pot and discard bone.
- Add parsley and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings accordingly. Discard bay leaves and thyme. Serve beans over rice with green onions and hot sauce (or Tabasco sauce).
- Cover your beans with at least 2-3 inches of cold water overnight.
- You can use canned beans if you wish, but they will not yield the same creamy results.
- Substitute water with chicken stock or broth if omitting ham hock.
- Andouille sausage is the best option in this recipe. It adds a kick of spice and smoky flavour.
- Add more stock or water if the beans become too dry. You want a nice, thick and creamy consistency, NOT watery.
1 cup white long grain rice
1 tablespoon butter (life changing)
A large pinch of salt (1-2 teaspoons)
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring water to a boil. Add rice, butter and salt.
- Bring pan back to a simmer; lower heat, cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, or until rice is fork-tender and water has fully absorbed.
- Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for a further 5 minutes, then fluff up with a fork and serve.