Red Beans and Rice

On a cold, snowy day like this I think of warm, hearty food inspired by…the south? Yep, it’s New Orleans inspired Red Beans and Rice for dinner tonight. It started snowing earlier today than expected so I didn’t have time to go to the store. After rummaging through my pantry I discovered I had all of the fixings for a rich, hearty, and actually healthy meal right here at home.

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The great thing about Red Beans and Rice is that you don’t really need to follow a recipe. Traditionally made on Mondays, it was a way to use the leftover bones from the weekend meals and stretch them into the week, so really it’s a scrappy kind of dish–use what you’ve got, give it some love, and you’ve got an amazing dinner for a crowd or for your family for a week.

If you’re looking for baby food ideas, this is a great one to puree up for some Stage 2 or 3 food. Just wait to add the creole seasoning and salt until near the end. When the beans are cooked but there’s still a lot of liquid, scoop some out, add some rice and away you go. The add the seasonings to the main pot and cook it down.

Since I was home (and didn’t get started until the afternoon) I did this on the stove. But you could just as easily do this in a crock pot. Just don’t soak the beans and put it on low all day.

Red Beans and Rice

Yield: 8 servings

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and liquid drained
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon creole or blackening seasoning
  • 6 cups water or stock
  • 1 ham hock and/or andouille-type sausage
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Chopped parsley, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy bottom dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Then add onions and cook until they're translucent, about 5 minutes. Add celery and peppers and cook until soft, another 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir until fragrant about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in tomato past and creole seasoning and cook until tomato paste becomes copper-colored, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add drained beans, water or stock, and ham hock. If you're just using sausage put some in whole now to be discarded later, and save some for slicing and adding at the end.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn down to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours over a very low heat until thick and rich. If it's still watery after an hour or so, turn up the heat and uncover to thicken.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over rice and garnish with parsley and scallions.
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And the kids couldn’t get enough. More please!

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