Let’s talk about a classic Cajun recipe. It never fails whenever we visit New Orleans or any Cajun restaurant, my husband undoubtedly orders the Red Beans and rice. He’s not a seafood guy, so it’s either this or a Cajun chicken pasta or a chicken sausage gumbo. He’s predictable. I hardly ever order Red Beans and Rice at a restaurant because, hello, there are so many amazing seafood choices! Also, well, let’s just talk about the elephant in the room: GAS. Believe it or not, I’ve found a way to reduce that from happening. In fact, I’m normally in a bad way after beans of any sort 😂 BUT not when I prep the beans the way I’m about to show you…..
Old timers will tell you that you need to soak your beans overnight. You can do that, but I never remember. So this is what I do. I sort my beans and take out any discolored ones, then I cover them with about two inches of water in a big pot. Next add about a 1/4 tsp of BAKING SODA. Bring beans to a boil and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then shut off the heat, cover, and let them set for 2 hours! Boom! Degassed beans and they will soften so we don’t have to cook them as long! Now, let’s see how to make these yummy Cajun beans.
What you’ll need
- 1 lb of red kidney beans
- 6-7 pieces of thick bacon chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs of Tasso ham or andouille sausage
- 2 onions, chopped (white or yellow)
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 3 to 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of Cajun seasoning
- 1/3 cup of fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 small can of tomato sauce
- 3 cups of beef broth
- Water to cover
- Green onion for garnish
- 1 cup long grain rice, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 T butter
Prep beans as mentioned above. Then dump the water and rinse the beans in a colander. Set aside.
Get your Dutch oven out. I’m really going to stress that you invest in one. Seriously, the flavor that comes from these one pot meals in a Dutch oven just can’t be beat. If you don’t have a dutch oven, get a big pot that holds heat well. For this meal, I used a hybrid pot from Hexclad. It’s a cross between cast iron and non stick, and it’s amazing.
Chop up your bacon and toss in a dutch oven that has been heated up over medium high heat. Add your Tasso ham or chopped up sausage. Cook until the fat renders but don’t let it get crispy. A little color is fine. While that renders, chop up your onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.
Drain the bacon and ham/sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel. Leave the grease in the bottom. Add your onions, green pepper and celery. Cook until those onions get opaque and then add your garlic and parsley. Give it a stir and let that cook for a few more minutes.
Your onions should have a little color on them now. Go ahead and add the meats back in, then add your rinsed beans, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, Cajun seasoning, Thyme and bay leaf. Give that a stir.
Now, add 3 cups of beef broth and add water if needed. The beans are already softened; so, we don’t need to cover with a lot of water. Just make sure there is about 1/2” of liquid covering the beans. I had to add a little water to have the level I like. You can always add some hot water during cooking if the beans soak it up. Bring that to a boil then turn the heat to simmer and cover and simmer for two hours.
When you have a half hour left, start your rice. Put 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 Tablespoon of butter in a saucepan.
Bring the rice to a boil, then turn your heat to simmer, cover and simmer WITHOUT REMOVING THE LID for 17 -18 minutes. I have a glass lid, so i can see when all the liquid is out of the rice and you’ll even see little “holes” to the bottom of your pan. After 17 minutes, remove from heat and leave it covered. Do not open 😂 Leave the lid on for 10 more minutes so it steams. At the end of that 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. You should have perfectly cooked rice that is not mushy and has a little bite and stays separated from each other if that makes sense. When rice is done, beans are probably done. Give your beans a taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. If you want a bit thicker broth, you can take an immersion blender and blend some of the beans or remove a cup or two and smash the beans, then return them to your pot. That’s it! Now, your house smells amazing and you have an amazing dinner that gets better on day 2 after being in the refrigerator.
Serve with French Bread or Cornbread and top with green onion. YUM.