My whole family loves to eat Cajun and Creole foods from Louisiana. It all started when I met my husband and started to travel with him to New Orleans to visit his parents. I fell in love with the amazing food that is part of that great city and over the years we would go for visits at least once a year. When we had been married for some time and my oldest son was 2 years old we took him for his first trip to New Orleans and it was love at first bite! My son was especially fond of the classic “Monday Washday” meal of red beans and rice and he insisted on eating it for lunch AND dinner every day of that trip. Since then we have had countless bowls of this delicious dish and my son, who is now 10, still isn’t tired of it.
For Red Beans
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 2 med green bell peppers, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (yes a WHOLE teaspoon)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz Andouille sausage, sliced thickly (Kielbasa makes a good substitute if Andouille isn't available in your area)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp Crystal or other Louisiana style hot sauce (use Tabasco if you like it HOT)
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional, I leave this out for my kids' sake)
- 2 quarts water
- 1 lb dried red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed
- 2 cups long grain rice (the traditional recipe uses white rice but you can sub in brown rice)
- 3 cups water
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
For Red Beans
- Melt the butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and black pepper to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers have softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.
- Add the Andouille, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne (if using), water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Uncover the pot, add the salt and continue simmering for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened. If you want it even creamier, stir frequently during the last 30 - 40 minutes of cooking time and squish some of the beans against the side of the pot with your spoon.
For The Rice
- Option 1: Cook 2 cups of rice according to the instructions for your rice cooker.
- Option 2: Bring water, butter and salt to a boil in a saucepan then add rice and stir to combine. Lower heat to maintain a simmer and cover the pot tightly. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
For the Final Dish
- Place a small mound of rice in the center of your plate and ladle red beans all around the rice island. Serve hot with plenty of hot sauce to pass around.