Red Beans and Rice

From Cook's Country | February/March 2006
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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… read more

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.

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Serves 8 to 10

Andouille is the traditional sausage for this dish, but we also had good results with kielbasa.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped medium
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 rib celery, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Table salt
  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans, rinsed and picked over
  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage or kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
  • 6 cups cooked long-grain rice (from 3 cups raw rice)
  • Hot pepper sauce

Instructions

  1. 1. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned and fat has rendered, about 7 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 teaspoon pepper, oregano, thyme, cayenne, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, beans, broth, and water, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain vigorous simmer (mixture will be steaming and several bubbles should be breaking the surface) and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft and liquid thickens, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

    2. Stir in sausage and cook until liquid is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over hot cooked rice with hot pepper sauce, if desired. (Leftover beans can be refrigerated in airtight container for several days.)

Detail sfs red beans and rice 5
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