Rule #89: If Sir Mix-A-Lot sings about a dish, it’s gotta be good.
I have to admit that I’ve been keeping this recipe from y’all. I posted it first about three years ago, and I’ve changed it up a bit since then. I decided to finally update my favorite Red Beans and Rice recipe and share it with you good folks. This is my ultimate, go-to comfort food. Anytime I need a little pick-me-up, I turn on some Willie Nelson and start to cookin’ this delicious pot of satisfaction.
I love Red Beans and Rice sooooo much that I always double the recipe below. That way, I know we’ll have a freezer full of leftovers at the ready. This is one of those recipes that freezes beautifully! So, put on your favorite tunes and get ready to make a biggo pot of New Orleans (properly pronounced “Naw-lens” in my book) comfort food!
First, place a 1 lb. bag of dried kidney beans in a large stockpot. Sprinkle in about 2 tbs. Kosher salt and cover the beans with cold water by at least 2″. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (just make sure to keep an eye on the pot… that boil over mess is a doozie to clean). Boil the beans until tender (about 1 hour). Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, chop yer veggies. You’ll need the traditional Holy Trinity of Creole cooking: onion, celery, and green bell pepper.
I’m making a double batch of the recipe below in all of these images because, like I said, I’ve gotta have my freezer stocked with this stuff! You’ll only need 4 links of andouille sausage for 1 batch of Red Beans and Rice. We love Aidells Cajun Style Andouille.
I like to cut the links in half lengthwise, then turn and cut them lengthwise again. This makes it easy to get a small dice of sausage. I like to be able to get some beans and sausage on my spoon with some fluffy rice and delicious gravy. Gotta have all the goodness in one spoonful in my book.
Once the beans have cooked, drain them and set them aside. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, add 1 tbs. vegetable oil. Bring it to a shimmer over medium-high heat, then add in your veggies. Sauté until the veggies are about halfway cooked through (4 minutes). Then, add in the diced sausage.
Sauté the andouille and veggies until the sausage has started to brown and the veggies are softened (about another 4 minutes). Add in some minced garlic and cook another 30 seconds, stirring occasionally.
Then, add in some cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine.
Now, add in some fresh thyme sprigs, chopped fresh sage, and bay leaves. The flavor bomb that the fresh herbs offer is out of this world! You can also sub dried herbs, too. Just use half of what you’d normally use for the fresh herbs.
Now, add the cooked beans back to the pot plus 8 cups of water. Stir everything to combine, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the Red Beans and Rice is boiling, partially cover and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook until mixture has thickened and flavors are all blended together (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours).
Once your Pot of Creole Comfort Food has finished its delicious dance, remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with steamed rice and hot sauce. Yum. Yum. Yum. One bit of this little number, and you’ll feel like you’re back on Bourbon Street.
One of the true gems of this recipe is that it can stay warm on the stove for hours until you’re ready to eat. That was actually the idea of the dish from the beginning: women would put on a pot early Sunday mornings and do the laundry all day long. That way, it was an easy, delicious meal that was ready whenever they were. That’s my kinda cookin’.
Enjoy my favorite flavors of my favorite city, New Orleans!
Red Beans and Rice
1 lb. dry red kidney beans
2 tbs. + 1 tsp. Kosher salt (divided)
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
4 andouille sausage links, cut into ½” pieces
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
½ tbs. fresh sage, chopped (or ¾ tsp. dried sage)
6 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ tsp. dried thyme)
3 bay leaves
Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Place beans in a large stockpot and add 2 tbs. Kosher salt. Add cold water until the beans are covered by at least 2”. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, partially cover and simmer for about an hour, until beans are tender. Drain and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook for about 4 minutes, until vegetables have started to soften. Add in the sausage and cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the minced garlic, and cook another 30 seconds. Sprinkle on 1 tsp. Kosher salt and ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Add in your desired amount of cayenne pepper (we like ½ tsp. for good heat). Then finally add in the sage, thyme, and bay leaves.
Add in the cooked beans and 8 cups water. Stir to combine, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer (medium-low heat) and cook until the flavors have blended and the texture has thickened (about 1½ to 2 hours), stirring occasionally.
Remove thyme stems and bay leaves.