In (belated) celebration of Fat Tuesday, here's my slow cooker red beans and rice recipe. I'm almost* embarrassed to post it as a separate recipe, since it's very similar to the caribbean black beans and rice I described yesterday. You can use this as an example of how minor changes to the flavor profile of a recipe can give you very different results.
*Almost. I got over it.
- 6 quart or larger slow cooker (Crock pot brand is fine, but I like my fancy ones from All-Clad and KitchenAid)
- 1 lb red kidney beans, sorted and rinsed
- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16oz Andouille sausage, diced (optional, substitute Kielbasa if you can't find Andouille)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasonings
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 sprig fresh thyme)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional, Frank's Red hot for mild, Tabasco is hotter, and traditional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Basic White Rice
1. Cook the beans: (Basic Slow Cooker Beans technique here) Put the beans in a pot, cover with 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for ten minutes, then drain. Transfer the beans to your slow cooker, and add the rest of the beans ingredient list. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the onion and bay leaf.
3. Final cooking: Add the aromatics to the crock pot with the beans, and let simmer for 15-30 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash some of the beans with a potato masher to thicken the broth*. Serve over the white rice, with Tabasco on the side.
*Or whiz them for a few one second pulses with a stick blender - don't over blend. You don't want Cream of Red Bean soup!
*Make ahead, easy slow cooker version: Combine steps 1 and 2. Skip the uncooked onion in the beans section. Do step 2 first, and add all the sauteed aromatics to the crock pot with the beans. Cook on low for 8 hours, then move on to step 3, the sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
*Make ahead, best taste: This recipe tastes best if the beans are made the day before, and allowed to rest in the refrigerator overnight. In the final cooking stage, bring them to a boil before simmering.
*Vegetarian version: Skip the sausage
*Add a squeeze of lemon juice, or some lemon zest at the very end, for some acid and citrus flavor.
*Substitute a smoked ham hock for the andouille - put it in the slow cooker with the beans when you start cooking them. When the beans are done, remove the ham hock and pull off all the meat you can, shredding it with your fingers, then stir it back into the beans.
*Use Tabasco as the hot sauce; it's traditional! But...if you can't take that much heat, I'd substitute Frank's Red Hot - lots of pepper flavor, but not as hot as Tabasco.
Justin Wilson - "I gar-on-tee!"