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Red Beans and Rice Recipe – How to Make it in 17 Simple Steps

Red beans and rice are a classic New Orleans combination. Although many cultures combine beans and rice, New Orleans adds savory Louisiana seasonings, tomatoes, and vegetables to craft a meal with a Creole twist. Our recipe can help you recreate this delicious meal for your family.

A mouth-watering plate of red beans and rice with a piece of sausage.

Historically, red beans and rice are served on Mondays in New Orleans and southern Louisiana. It may seem like an odd tradition, but when you consider the history of this Southern town, the tradition seems to make more sense. In centuries past, homemakers did particular types of work on certain days of the week. Everyone always washed their clothes on Monday.

When you think about what washing clothes entailed, you will gain great sympathy for antebellum housekeepers. They had to boil large vats of water, scrub the clothes by hand, rinse them, wring them out, and hang them to dry on a clothesline. Washday was so work-intensive that homemakers needed a dinner that was quick and easy. Red beans and rice was the answer to that need. Cooks could prepare the meal first thing in the morning and let it simmer over the fire all day. The long, slow cook time only added to the delicious flavors found in red beans and rice.

A mouth-watering plate of red beans and rice with a piece of sausage.

Red Beans and Rice Recipe

April Freeman
Loaded with spices, vegetables, and savory meat, red beans and rice is a classic New Orleans meal. Variations on this menu item are plentiful, but most of them feature red kidney beans, white rice, a few vegetables, and of course, a generous helping of New Orleans spices. If you need a delicious meal that will fill you up, you may want to try our red beans and rice recipe.

Video Version

Prep Time 4 hrs 35 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 7 hrs 5 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 4 People

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Large Pot
  • Food Processor
  • Pan or Skillet

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and soak the dried beans overnight or for at least four hours.
  • Drain the soaking water, and cover them with fresh water by about an inch in a large stockpot.
  • Add the ham hock.
  • Put the pot on medium heat on the stove and bring it to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover with a tightly fitting lid.
  • Chop the onion, pepper, and celery finely. If you want to avoid all that chopping, feel free to use a food processor to mince them. Place these veggies in a bowl, add the garlic, and set it all aside.
    The chopped onion, pepper, and celery arranged in a neat heap.
  • As you’re chopping veggies and waiting for the pot to boil, in a large heavy skillet, heat 3-4 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sausage and saute it, turning the sausages until they are browned and crispy. When the meat is cooked, using a slotted spoon, place the meat in the bean pot.
    The sauteed slices of sausage in a skillet.
  • Next, using the oil that is already hot, or adding a little extra oil if needed, put the veggie mixture in the pan.
  • Saute the veggies until the onions are translucent, stirring constantly.
  • Place the veggies in the bean pot as well, along with the tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Add the spices and herbs, stirring to combine.
    The sauteed chopped vegetables in a skillet.
  • Cook the beans and veggies over low heat, simmering, for about two hours or until the beans are soft.
  • About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, remove about a half cup of beans from the pot and place them in a bowl.
  • Using a fork or a potato masher, smash the beans and then stir them into the beans. This will lend a creamy texture to the finished product.
  • Also, remove the ham hock, and remove the fat and bones from it. Shred the ham and put it back into the pot, stirring to combine.
  • Serve the red beans and rice over generous helpings of white rice in large bowls.
  • Note: This recipe adapts well for crockpot cooking. Simply place the red beans in the crockpot, saute your meat and veggies, and put them in the crockpot along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Notes

Despite the fact that modern housekeepers have washers and dryers now and wash day is a lot less physically demanding, New Orleans is a city full of traditions, so Monday for many means red beans and rice even to this day.
Our recipe for red beans and rice features several types of vegetables, kidney beans, and andouille sausage, along with a ham hock. If you’re trying to avoid meat, you can definitely prepare this meal without the meat. The variety of veggies and spices means that your red beans and rice will still be delicious even without meat.
Keyword Main Course, Recipe, Red Bean and Rice

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