There has been a longstanding - some say New Orleans… some say Louisiana… some say Southern tradition of making Red Beans and Rice. In years gone by when Monday was “Wash Day”, Red Beans were slow cooked on the stove using the ham bone left from Sunday's dinner while washing clothes. It seems like every day is “Wash Day” at my house. We all work can to can’t and then some… so the only way I’m going to get my Red Beans and Rice is to plan ahead and use a little help from modern technology. I do believe you still need to soak your beans overnight and to certainly not skimp on any of the other flavorful ingredients.
One more thing before I share the recipe with you - the “Holy Trinity” in Louisiana refers to a trio in equal parts of diced aromatics: bell pepper, onion and celery. They are gently sautéed together to create a flavor base for the other ingredients to build upon. There are variations of this trio in other cuisines:
French “Mirepoix”: carrot, onion and celery (Classic)
Italian “Soffritto”: onions, celery, and carrots in a 2:1:1 ratioIndian: onion, ginger, and garlic
If you have a family recipe that you only get to enjoy when Monday falls on a holiday or one of the kiddos is home sick… try modifying it to use it in the slow cooker, it will become a new tradition in your household.
Red Beans and Rice (Makes 8 servings)
1 lb dried red beans (I use “Camellia” brand)6 cups water
8 slices thick cut bacon (about ½ a pound), cut into ½ inch slices1 ½ lb smoked sausage, cut into ¾ to 1 inch pieces (I use locally produced “Down Home” brand)
Holy Trinity – 2 cups onion, 2 cups green bell pepper, 2 cups celery (all cut to small dice)2 t salt
2 t dried thyme
1 t ground black pepper¼ t cayenne
1 T garlic, finely chopped5 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
8-10 prepared servings of long grain riceFlat leaf parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)
Green onions, finely sliced (for garnish)
Sort beans, rinse and place them into a container, adding about 6 cups water.
Let soak overnight. Drain rinse and set aside.
Pre-cook the sausage, lightly brown and render out the fat.
In a large skillet lightly cook the bacon just until it starts to brown but still limp.
Add the trinity ingredients, stir and sauté the vegetables until they are soft. Add salt, thyme, pepper, cayenne and garlic…continue sautéing just until the vegetables start to brown.
Place beans, vegetables, vegetable stock and sausage in a slow cooker. Set on low for 10 hours.
Adjust seasoning. If they need to be thickened more, remove about a cup of the beans, mash with a fork and return them to the pot. Serve with rice and garnish with the parsley and green onions.