Red Beans and Rice
New Orleans native Louis Armstrong loved this Louisiana dish so much that he signed his letters "Red Beans and ricely yours."
Why This Recipe Works
A Cajun classic, red beans and rice is just that: highly flavored, stewed kidney beans ladled over white rice. The best versions balance the sweetness of the beans with a smoky, spicy flavor built on a base of vegetables and herbs. Unfortunately, too many versions of this dish that we have tested have been either bland and boring or fiery hot. We began our recipe with dried kidney beans, as canned beans break apart and turn mushy long before the broth is fully seasoned. We flavored the broth with the trinity of Cajun cooking: onion, bell pepper, and celery. Softening the vegetables in rendered bacon lent the broth a deep, meaty flavor. Cooking the beans in a blend of water and chicken broth made for a rich flavor was not particularly “chickeny." Because the beans simmer so long, dried herbs work well in our Red Beans and Rice recipe.