Red beans and rice anchor many lists of quintessential Louisiana dishes. Satisfying, delicious, economical meal to enjoy any day of the year.
When laundry was a weekly task done by hand, it took all day and then some, so the astute cooks of New Orleans tended to start a big pot of red beans cooking low and slow, so that a low-fuss feast woud be ready when it came time to eat. People still love red beans in New Orleans and environs, and enjoy this satisfying classic on other days and many occasions.
Seldom would cold temperatures have been a factor in choosing this dish for a given day’s menu, since the issue tends to be excessive heat and not the longing for it. But it’s cold where I am, with snow expected while we sleep and the kind of temperatures that make me keep up with my gloves, wrap my scarf on before going out the door, and looking for reasons to turn on the oven so I can stand near it while fixing a meal.
I had Camellia brand red kidney beans on hand in the pantry, some smoked sausage in the refrigerator, and all the other necessities in the house, so all I had to do was read the back of the package, cook up a big pot of red beans, make rice, and type out the recipe for you. This classic didn’t begin as a means to see people through wintry weather, but it has that power and we enjoy it especially in this cold season. If you have any left, expect it to thicken up overnight. Reheat it gently and add water to help it return to its saucey wonderful texture.
- 1 pound package Camellia brand dried red kidney beans (2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound smoked sausage, preferably andouille
- 8 -10 cups water
- 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 toe garlic, chopped ("toe" AKA "clove" of garlic)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning or Cajun/Creole seasoning blend
- Salt, to taste
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 3 green onions, chopped
- Hot, cooked rice
- Cornbread (optional)
- Rinse and sort beans.
- Place the beans in a large pot and add the water.
- Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, and then boil for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over miedum high heat.
- Cook the sausage in the oil, turning often, until browned and aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer sausage to a plate and set aside.
- In the same skillet, saute the onion, garlic, and celery, stirring often, until tender, shiny, and fragrant, about 5 minutes. .
- Scrape the onion-celery mixture into the pot and stir to mix with the beans.
- Chop the sausage into coins and add it to the pot, along with the bay leaf., Tony Cachere's, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper.
- Boil gently, stirring occasionally for about 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are soft and tender;
- Add water while cooking as necessary..
- When beans are done, mash some beans against the side of the pot and stir well, to enhance their creamy texture.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.
- Stir in the chopped green onions and most of the parsley, saving a little for garnish.
- Serve in shallow soup bowls with a generous dollop of rice in each bowl.