Red Beans and Rice is perfect for Mardi Gras or for Monday laundry day as was traditionally done in New Orleans.
No really. In New Orleans, Monday was laundry day and the women would put on a big pot of beans and let them cook all day while they did laundry. At supper time they would heat up some sausage, or pork chops, or maybe fry an egg and serve it on top.
My brother's original recipe called for cooking the beans separately from the ham stock and sautéing the vegetables in yet another pot.
Ugh, I hate doing dishes! Especially big pots. So, I reworked the recipe a little to make it in one pot. Unless you are using the crock pot. For that, you do need a skillet to sauté the vegetables first.
I do not add cayenne or red pepper to mine because my son doesn't like spicy stuff. I add a little to mine separately, but for the most part this isn't supposed to be a spicy dish.
Three Ways to Prepare Red Beans and Rice
The instructions may seem overwhelming at first glance because I list three different ways to prepare the red beans: on the stove top, in the slow cooker, or in the pressure cooker.
All three ways are delicious. The pressure cooker is the fastest, but it is also a little harder to judge when it is done. If that happens you can either bring it back to pressure for another few minutes. Or, if you have time use the sauté function (electric cooker) or simmer (stove top cooker) until the beans are nice and tender.
Red Beans and Rice
- 1 pound dry small red beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or bacon grease or rendered ham fat if available)
- 1 medium onion (diced (divided use))
- ½ bell pepper (diced)
- ¼ cup celery (diced)
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic (divided use)
- 2 ham hocks (or 1 ham bone)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- cooked white rice (about ½ cup per person)
- ALL METHODS: Soak beans overnight, drain and rinse.
- Sauté onions, garlic, peppers and celery in olive oil until onions are translucent. Remove approximately half of mixture and set aside.STOVE TOP: Use a large stock potPRESSURE COOKER: Directly in the pressure cookerSLOW COOKER: Use a skillet on the stove.
- Cook the beans half way.STOVE TOP: Add beans, ham hocks/ bone, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and thyme. Cover beans with water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 1 - 1.5 hours until beans are soft. Watch water level every 30 minutes or so and add additional ¼ to ½ cup water as needed. You want this to be a bit "soupy".PRESSURE COOKER: Add beans, ham hocks/ bone, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and thyme. Cover beans with water. Bring to pressure and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes or 28 minutes on low.SLOW COOKER: Put half of the sautéed vegetables in the slow cooker with beans, ham hocks/ bone, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and thyme. Pour approximately one cup of water into the skillet and return to stove for a minute or so to deglaze (loosen the bits stuck on the pan).
Add water to the slow cooker plus enough additional water to cover beans. If you will not be monitoring the water level, add enough water to come about an inch over the beans.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high 2-3 hours.
- Finish cookingSTOVE TOP: Add reserved vegetables, adjust seasoning and add extra liquid if needed. Cook for 20- 30 more minutes on simmer until beans are very soft.PRESSURE COOKER: Quick release pressure and open the pot. Add reserved vegetables, adjust seasonings and add extra liquid if needed. Bring back to pressure and cook for 15 minutes on high pressure or 28 minutes on low. Release pressure naturally.SLOW COOKER: If you are available, add reserved vegetables, adjust seasonings and add extra liquid if needed the last hour of cooking. If not either add all of the vegetables at the start or add the last half at the end.
- Remove ham hocks / bone and bay leaves from the pot and set aside to cool slightly. Remove meat from the bone and shred or chop.
- Mash about ¼ of the beans in the pot with the back of the spoon, a potato masher or immersion blender. You want to have a thick gravy with some whole beans.
- Add ham to the beans and stir. Serve over cooked rice with a pork chop, Andouillle sausage or chicken breast if desired.
More Cajun Recipes
Until next time, happy eating.