Red Beans & Rice are a Louisiana tradition. I think they are one of the first dishes that come to mind when you think of Louisiana food. I know they are one of my favorites! They were a staple in my house growing up. In fact, red beans were the first solid food I ate as a baby. So, it's no wonder they hold a special place in my heart.
Tradition dictates that red beans and rice are eaten on Mondays. The reason for that is because in the old days, Mondays were "wash day". The women of the house would be doing laundry all day long, so they needed a meal that didn't require a great deal of attention. They'd put on a big pot of red beans and let it simmer all day, usually with the ham hock leftover from Sunday dinner.
Nowadays, we may not be doing laundry on Mondays, but we still enjoy our red beans and rice!
This recipe is even easier because it's made in a slow cooker. Plus, you don't even need a leftover ham, smoked sausage works just as well.
RED BEANS & RICE
1 lb. dried red beans (soak them in a big bowl of water overnight the night before)
1/2 lb smoked sausage, cut into small chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
chicken broth (enough to just cover the beans -about 3 1/2 cups or so)
Tony's or Cajun seasoning
hot sauce, optional
In slow cooker, add beans that have been soaked overnight, rinsed and drained. Add sausage, onion and bell pepper. Add enough chicken broth to just cover the beans (don't add too much or they won't be creamy). Season to taste with Tony's. If you like them spicy, add more seasoning (even a few dashes of hot sauce). Otherwise, just a little seasoning (that's up to you). Give it a good stir. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours total. After 4 hours of cooking, stir and smash some of the beans up against the side of the slow cooker. This will help make the beans creamy. Recover and continue cooking on HIGH for 2 more hours. So, 6 hours total. So easy and down-right delicious! Serve with rice.
A lot of people have trouble cooking rice. I used to. It would always come out too gummy or too hard. But, I finally figured out the way to make perfect rice every time.
Get out a saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add 1 cup long grain rice and 1 3/4 cup water. Season with a dash of salt, if desired. Bring this to a rolling boil, then give it one quick stir. Cover, lower heat to LOW and simmer for 17 minutes. (I know that sounds ridiculously exact, but that's what works) Turn off heat, remove the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
If you need more rice, just adjust the measurements accordingly. I always thought it was a 1 to 2 ratio (rice to water), but I find if I go a little shy on the water, the rice doesn't come out gummy. Much better!
So, there you have it. My recipe for creamy and delicious Red Beans & Rice. It could not be easier! The hardest thing about this recipe is remembering to soak the beans on Sunday night. So, next Monday make some red beans! Laundry is optional.