If there is any recipe that you need to know to make better use of your food stores, it’s Red Beans & Rice. This versatile and easy to cook dish tastes fantastic and is cheap, healthy, and easy. A southern staple, this meal can be made as a side dish, the main entree, or paired with any type of protein to make a full meal.
The recipe as presented is designed to be made from your food stores. See my notes below for additional ingredients and storing the needed ingredients.
Red Beans and Rice
- 1 lb Light Red Kidney Beans
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion (chopped fine)
- 1 Green Bell Pepper (chopped fine)
- 3 Stalks of Celery (chopped fine)
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning (Tony Chachere’s)
- 3 Chicken Bullion Cubes
- Hot Sauce (as desired)
- 2 cups White Rice
- 3.5 cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- The beans will need to be pre-soaked. To do this wash beans and place them in a pot with plenty of cold water. Let sit overnight at room temp. Before using, drain and rinse.
- In a large dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, add in your oil, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, and half of the cajun seasoning. Cook until starting to brown and soft, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add in your garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add your soaked beans. Add water to cover the beans by about 2 inches.
- Add in your oregano, thyme, bay leaves, the remainder of the Cajun seasoning, and the bouillon cubes. Stir.
- Bring to a soft boil, reduce, and simmer, covered, for 1.5 to 2.5 hours, or until the beans a soft.
- Remove cover and remove 1 cup of the cooked beans, set aside. Continue to simmer uncovered to reduce water and beans start to thicken. Remove bay leaves and discard.
- Crushed removed beans with a potato masher and return to the pot, stir.
- Remove from heat and let sit until cooled and thickened.
- Bring 3.5 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Mix in 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Pour in rice, stir to loosen. Do not over-stir the rice.
- Cover with a tightly fitting lid, reduce the heat to it’s lowest setting, and cook the rice, covered, for 18 minutes
- Without removing the lid, remove from the heat and allow to sit for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Serve the beans over rice with hot sauce as desired. Some people also like to add a few dashes of cider vinegar on top.
Red beans and rice is a very versatile dish, which is probably why it has been around so long, and is loved by so many people in the south. It is similar to a vegetable soup in that you can add in whatever you have on hand, making it a little different every time.
Most of the time, red beans and rice will be served with sausage either cooked into it, or on the side. The typical sausage used is andouille, but smoked sausage or polish sausage works just as good.
If you want to serve it on the side, slice the sausage into “half moons” and saute in your dutch oven before cooking your beans. You can remove it to the side and when serving, add a scoop of sausage between your rice and beans.
You can also cook the sausage into the beans. After you brown the sausage remove it and sit to the side. When you add your beans into the pot you can add the sausage back in as well.
A lot of people like to add a ham hock or pickled pork into the pot to add extra flavor. A smoked ham hock can add wonderful flavor if you have one to use.
You can also add a few dashes of liquid smoke to substitute the flavor, but it really doesn’t taste as good as a real smoked hock.
You can use lard instead of oil for a flavor boost as well. The lard will give the dish a richer taste and flavor when compared to vegetable oil.
Storing the Ingredients
Most of us will have the needed spices and seasonings, oil, rice, and beans in our long term storage. The fresh vegetables, however, may be a problem depending on the situation and why we are using out long term storage.
You can buy (or make your own) freeze dried and dehydrated vegetables for long term storage, and I have used them in this recipe to great success.
Here are some links to available products:
- Dehydrated Onion
- Dehydrated Green and Red Bell Pepper (This mix works well in the recipe even though the red pepper is normally used)
- Dehydrated Celery
Cooking with a Thin Pot or over Direct Heat
If you do not have a heavy dutch oven you can use a thin bottom pot. To keep the beans from sticking and burning, you will need to add extra water and stir more frequently.
If cooking over an open flame or on a camp stove you will need to do the same thing. The flames will cause hot spots, which will cause the beans to stick and burn.
To help with this, add in an extra two cups of water, and stir frequently. If the beans start to get too thick, add in more water. Once the beans are done, you can simmer uncovered and stirring nearly constantly until the thicken up.
You can also wait to add the mashed beans back into the mix until the beans are off the heat. Just add the mash in, stir, cover, and let the beans sit for about 20 minutes. Stir again and they should be thickened and ready to go.