A classic New Orleans recipe for Red Beans and Rice made with red beans, spicy sausage, onions, garlic and green bell peppers. One of my family’s favorite meals!
I originally posted this recipe in 2012 when this blog was brand new. Since I make Red Beans and Rice often, I thought now would be a great time to update this post to include nicer pictures.
I was fortunate to have grown up in New Orleans. When I tell people that I’m originally from New Orleans, they always ask me what it was like to live there.
It was pretty awesome, actually.
There is no other place like it in the world. From the music, to the food, to the wonderful people, New Orleans is a place like no other. But like so many things, we tend to appreciate them more when we are no longer around them. That’s certainly the case here.
Living in New Orleans, life was like one big party. It seemed like every month, we were celebrating something. We really didn’t even need a reason to celebrate, it just happened naturally.
One of my favorite celebrations is Mardi Gras. In addition to the parades during the Mardi Gras season, New Orleans even celebrates with parades on St. Patrick’s Day where instead of beads, the riders on the floats “throw” cabbages and also on St. Joseph’s Day where “lucky” fava beans are handed out.
When my family and I moved to Texas, my kids couldn’t believe the kids in Texas didn’t have Mardi Gras Day off. It took a few years for them to adjust to that.
Growing up in New Orleans, traditions were important. Every Mardi Gras season, we could look forward to King Cakes. On our dinner table every night was a bottle of Tabasco and every Monday we would enjoy Red Beans and Rice for dinner. Red Beans and Rice were traditional in New Orleans and not just at my mother’s house.
Mondays were considered “wash days”. The women of the house would traditionally do the laundry on Mondays and they would put a big pot of beans on the stove to cook all day long. Since Red Beans and Rice require very little “hands-on” attention, they were perfect for this busy day. Even though Mondays may not be considered “wash day” any longer, you will still see Red Beans and Rice on most restaurant menus in New Orleans on a Monday.
To me, a good bowl of Red Beans and Rice is perfect any day of the week. It’s a great one-pot meal that’s easy to make and full of flavor. I season my beans with chopped celery, onions, garlic, bell peppers and chunks of spicy sausage. It simmers on the stove for a few hours filling your home with the most incredible aroma.
Serve your red beans up with a loaf of beer bread on the side. If you make it with a dark amber beer, that’s a real plus. If you make it with Abita Amber (made in Louisiana) huge bonus points for you.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to soaking or not soaking the beans. I soak them. It’s just what I was raised to do. You don’t have to soak your beans overnight, you can use the quick soak method instead or you can forego soaking completely and just cook the beans until they’re tender.
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New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice
- 1 pound red beans, rinsed and sorted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 3/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound pork sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 leaves bay
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 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.
- Rinse and drain the beans and set aside.
- 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.
- Add the chopped sausage to the pot and cook along with the vegetables for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- 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.
- Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After the 2 hours and when the beans are tender, stir in the butter and add salt and pepper to taste.
- If the beans become too thick and dry, add a little water.
- 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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