I crave red beans and rice a lot. You could serve it on a bed of poop, and I’d probably eat it. Gross, I know, but it had to be said.
The delicious, beautiful dish is typically served on Mondays in the Louisiana Creole community, which means I should probably move there so I can get my fix every week.
Alright, I’m not really going to move there. It’s too hot. So I took it upon myself to try to make my own. I’m going to be honest—it took a while. The beans really have to simmer for a long time in the liquids before they become creamy, but the end result is divine.
It’s also worth noting that a true Louisianian would probably scoff at this version, but I made it this way because tasso ham isn’t readily available in the Midwest. I could have added Andouille sausage, but I forgot to add it to my grocery list. I did, however, add a tip to make sure that you know when to add it if you prefer some sausage in your recipe.
After I just typed that last paragraph, I searched for tasso online in Cincinnati and found that you can reportedly purchase it at Findlay Market in Cincinnati. Duly noted, Internet, Duly noted.
So, anyway, I didn’t use sausage, but I used the other traditional ingredients, and it turned out awesomely. So, if you have time on a Monday evening, I recommend simmering some red beans on the stove. You can thank me later.
Red Beans and Rice
Prep time: 8-24 hours bean-soaking time
Cook time: ~135 minutes
3 tablespoons salt
1 pound red beans, rinsed
3 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped fine*
1 green pepper, chopped fine
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
White rice for serving (recipe below)
*Tip: Toss the onion, green pepper and celery in the food processor, and pulse until desired consistency is achieved.
- Place 3 tablespoons salt and 4 quarts of cold water in a large pot. Add rinsed beans, cover, and soak at room temperature for 8-24 hours. Drain and rinse.
- Heat bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat and stir until browned, 8-10 minutes.
- Add onion, green pepper and celery and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Toss the garlic, thyme, paprika, bay leaves and cayenne pepper in the pot, and stir until fragrant, 10-20 seconds.
- Add beans, water and broth, then bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat enough to keep it rolling at a strong simmer, uncovered, and stir occasionally until beans are soft and the liquid thickens to a gravy-like consistency, approximately 2 hours.*
- Season with vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Serve over white rice.
*Tip: If you’d like sausage in your recipe, add about 10 ounces of sliced Andouille sausage (or tasso ham!) after simmering the beans for 60 minutes.
Basic White Rice*
2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed in a colander until water runs clear
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
*Tip: Don’t have time to make rice? Just prepare a bag of instant rice. The beans are the star in this recipe!
- Heat oil in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Add rice and stir constantly until the grains become a little opaque, about 3 minutes.
- Add water and salt, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat, take off the lid, and place a folded kitchen towel over the saucepan. Replace lid and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Fluff and serve.