New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice

 

New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice -1

Last year I told you about my recipe for the best red beans and rice on the planet.  I know I’m not being very modest right now… I’m sorry…but it really is :)

I hadn’t been blogging for very long when I posted that earlier recipe and looking back at the very sad pictures I took made me realize I owe it to you to give you a more accurate representation of this classic New Orleans dish.

New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice from Zagleft - 2

I’ve always loved red beans and rice for many reasons.  I grew up eating this dish almost every week and even now when I go back home to New Orleans for a visit, I can’t leave without enjoying a bowl or two before I leave.  It ranks right up there with beignets from Cafe’ du Monde and a fried shrimp po-boy from Mother’s Restaurant.  Even though I love to cook red beans and rice at home, there’s something very special about eating them in New Orleans.  I think it must be the sausage and the perfect amount of creole spiciness.  Here at home, I try to find a flavorful sausage with a lot of spice and seasoning and I always have a bottle of Tabasco sauce close by.  Two secrets to a great red beans and rice dish.. very important!

Another secret to making a great pot of red beans is to make sure you let them cook for a few hours on a low, slow simmer.  The beans become nice and soft and the spices from the sausage flavors the vegetables and beans perfectly.  My goodness, the aroma coming from the kitchen will surely make your mouth water.

New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice from ZagLeft - 3

Traditionally, red beans and rice are served with white rice, but I’ve never really been much of a rule follower.  I serve mine with brown rice or a rice blend from Rice Select made with with couscous and brown flax seeds.  But serve it with what you like.

Don’t forget to serve your red beans with a side of cornbread which is another southern staple.  My favorite is this flavorful Sausage and Cheese cornbread.  It’s got thick chunks of sausage and creamy cheddar cheese melted throughout.  It’ll be as they say back home, “slap ya mama good!”

New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of red beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of pork sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)

Instructions

  1. Either soak the beans overnight in a pot of water or quick soak the beans by placing them in a large pot and cover the beans with water by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and place a lid on the pot. Let beans sit for 1 hour.
  2. Rinse and drain the beans and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium high heat. Add the onions, celery and bell pepper to the pot and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes more.
  4. Add the chopped sausage to the pot and cook along with the vegetables for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the beans and 8 cups of water to the pot. Add in the bay leaves, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and thyme. Stir well.
  6. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. After the 2 hours and when the beans are tender, stir in the butter and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. If the beans become too thick and dry, add a little water.
  9. Using the back of a heavy spoon, mash a few of the beans against the side of the pot. Remove from heat, take out the bay leaves and serve over rice.
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