New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
It’s taken me entirely too long to get to soak my red beans. A year! I’ve lived in New Orleans a year and I’ve never soaked my red beans to make a pot of Red Beans and Rice. Some nerve, really.
Red Beans and Rice is a Monday night New Orleans tradition. I thought Monday nights were reserved for red wine, salty popcorn, and M&M dinner… turns out I was totally mistaken. All the way wrong.
Red Beans and Rice is a Monday tradition because Monday was considered the “wash-day”…. laundry. Red Beans could cook on the stove, mostly unattended, all day while the laundry was done. Also, Red Beans could be made with the precious ham hock reserved from Sunday supper. In other words, everything makes sense. Ham, red beans, Monday laundry. New Orleans is doing it right and I need to get my act (and my laundry) together.
Let’s get this pot on the stove!
Classic Camellia Red Beans, dried but soaked.
Major soup flavors like onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and pancetta.
Parsley and thyme for fresh herb notes. Bay leaf for base flavors. Good chicken stock for roundness.
Lastly, smoked sausage, sliced, for that perfect layer of salty smoky pork.
Rice too! And it’s almost dinner!
Onions, peppers, and celery are added to a pot of crisp and cooking pancetta. We’re layering flavors. Pork meets classic stew vegetables. Very little can go wrong here.
It’s riiiiight about now, as the smell of cooking onions and peppers fill my kitchen that I’m like… CRAP I FORGOT TO SOAK MY BEANS!
How to Quick Soak Beans. The Kitchn saves the day. Like always.
Vegetables are really cooked down well. There are no half measures here. Red beans and rice are about almost burning everything. Almost. Taking vegetables and pork and beans to the edge of done.
That’s where all the flavor hides.
Fresh parsley, lots of minced garlic, and cooked smoked sausage are added to the well-browned vegetables. It’s already so good!
The sausage is cooked down until it’s crisped and almost gnarly. Everything gets extra done.
You’ll also note in the left corner, I’ve soaked my beans. Crisis averted.
Softened beans are added to the pancetta, vegetable, sausage, garlic goodness.
This is where some of you might yell at me for not adding a ham hock to my rice and beans. I know. What the heck is rice and beans without a dang ham hock!?!? Well… it’s still rice and beans. My version. It’s cool. Life goes on.
(I don’t know where the ham hock aisle is at the grocery store. Probably the butcher. Still tho. Still.)
Simmered until softened, fatty, smokey, spicy, and utterly irresistible. Serve with plenty of fluffy white rice, lots of fresh sliced green onions, and definitely invite at least two friends over for Monday gossip and good times.
Ps. Every single time I made rice I have to look it up: How To Cook Basmati Rice. Judge not.
- 1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and picked through for stones
- 1/3 cup diced pancetta
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 green or red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch cayenne or a few dashes of Tony Chachere Seasoning
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- 1/2 pound cooked smoked sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
- about 10 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups cooked white rice
- chopped green onions, garnish
- Place clean dried beans in a medium pot and cover with room temperature water. Allow to soak overnight before making the beans.
- If you don't have time to soak the beans overnight, don't fret. Place the clean dried beans in a medium pot and cover with room temperature water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the beans boil, cover, remove from heat, and allow to soak for 1 hour. Carry on with the recipe.
- In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook pancetta until very well crisp, about 6 minutes.
- Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are very well done, about 8 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, and cayenne or Tony Chachere Seasoning and stir to combine.
- Stir in the garlic, parsley, thyme, and sliced sausage. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until the sausage is well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the softened beans to the pot, the stock, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 2 hours, uncovered, until the beans are well softened.
- Taste and season with more salt or pepper.
- For a slightly smoother consistency, blend about 1/3 of bean and sausage mixture in a blender or food processor and return to the pot. This way, some of the beans will be ground smooth and some will be kept whole, creating a really lovely consistency. You can also smooth out some of the beans by mashing them against the side of the pan once they're softened, but I like the bender method best.
- Serve beans with white rice and a hearty garish of green onions.