Red beans and rice is a dish I’ve loved since I can remember, but it was only recently that I tried making it myself. It’s definitely a comfort food and is perfect for chilly or rainy days. Eric and I liked this recipe so much that we’ve made it several times since then, and we have very few recipes that we repeat that often. The one thing that really surprised me about this dish was the wonderful texture and flavor of the rice. I attribute this to the method of cooking the rice, which involves adding the rice to melted butter and cooking for two to three minutes before adding boiling water. This recipe did not disappoint, and I’m glad I still have a little time to enjoy it before the weather gets too hot.
Just as a note, we always use Conecuh sausage when we make this. It’s a smoked sausage made in Alabama and can be found in most southern states. We always make sure to stock up when we’re there visiting family. You can use Andouille or any other type of smoked sausage for this recipe.
Red Beans and Rice
For the beans:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 to 16 ounces smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium green bell peppers, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 quarts water
1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris
For the rice:
3 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
-Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and lightly brown.
-Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
-Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
-Add the bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil.
-Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
-Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher.
-Prepare rice during the last 30 minutes of cooking the beans. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan.
-While the water is coming to a boil place the butter into a 3-quart saucepan, set over medium heat.
-Once the butter begins to bubble, add the rice and stir to combine. Add the salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Carefully pour the water over the rice and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the beans over the rice.
Source: Adapted from Alton Brown