Recipe by Caryn Dalton
I love a good Cajun red bean and rice dish. However, I've got 3 family members who don't necessarily appreciate all that cayenne pepper and spicy sausage! So, I make this version instead and spice it up in my bowl. Use the optional seasoning to kick it up. This makes enough to feed the choir too...or about 12 big servings. I use my pressure cooker or crock pot when I am short on time. But whatever you do, play some good New Orleans Blues while eating or it just ain't right!
- 1 (16 ounce) bag red beans, quick soaked, rinsed and sorted
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I prefer olive)
- 1 (16 ounce) packageof your favorite sausage, cubed (I prefer Andouille sausage)
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 celery ribs, chopped-leaves and all, divided
- 1⁄2-1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 5 cups water or 5 cups chicken stock
- 1⁄3 cup tomato sauce or 1⁄3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 bay leaves (wrapped in cheesecloth or housed in a tea steeping egg)
- 3 tablespoons thyme leaves (or one fresh bundle, minced)
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon mesquite powder
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- 1 1⁄2 cups favorite rice (I like a small grain or wild grain with this)
- 2 tablespoons creole seasoning (optional)
- hot sauce, your choice of brand (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Rinse beans, put in a pot with a lid and cover with five cups of water. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit for 1 hour. Rinse, drain and then use in recipe.
- In a large skillet, heat oil till shimmery and then add the chunked sausage, chopped onion, bell pepper and 2 stalks of chopped celery. Cook on medium high till onions start to become transparent and a little brown on edges about 7 minutes, stirring every 1 or 2 minutes.
- Add rinsed and pre-cooked/soaked beans to skillet and cook another 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Begin to heat a large stockpot on another burner. Add the Chicken Stock or Water,tomato sauce,Garlic, Bay Leaves ( I used a tea steeper to hold the bay leaves or wrap in cheesecloth for easier removal later), Thyme, Ham hock the 2 stalks chopped raw celery, worcestershire sauce, mesquite powder, brown sugar, browned sausage mixture (with cooked onion and celery, and Creole Seasoning if using.
- Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let this simmer for 2- 2 1/2 Hours. The first hour just give it an occasional stir and make sure the beans are covered with liquid. I just use a lid and I don't have to worry about a lot of escaping liquid. The second hour the beans will absorb a lot of liquid and they will stick so keep an eye out and stir more often.
- Remove the ham hock and trim away the usable meat. Add the usable meat back to the pot.
- Make rice and cook beans for another half an hour while rice prepares. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
- In a shallow bowl, mound in the center about 1/2 cup of rice (I used a small serving bowl sprayed with nonstick & packed with rice-turn upside down to release rice in a pretty shape)and ladle red beans around the rice.
- Serve this with a nice crusty bread and a simple vinaigrette salad and a bottle of hot sauce (I like chipotle Tabasco). We like a big pitcha of good cold sweet tea with this. It's a suthun thang, I gar-on-tea!
- To adapt this to pressure cooker (to save an hour), after browning sausage mixture-Put all ingredients in the pot, set burner to med-high and when the pot comes to pressure cook for 12 minutes. Turn off burner, release steam naturally and STIR WELL!resume cooking with a regular lid (not pressure lid) for 1 hour. Make rice 30 minutes before done.
- To adapt this to a crock pot, after quick-soaking beans and after browning sausage, onion and celery add all ingredients to crock pot except rice and cook on low overnight or 6-8 hours. Cook rice separately and serve. I actually prefer it made in the crock pot. The beans are softer and the soup creamier BUT you need to cube everything larger because the veggies tend to 'melt' in the crockpot.