Thursday, November 10, 2011

Red Beans & Rice: My Go-To Meal

This is one of our very favorite meals! I often make it when we have company because adults love it, and it can easily be adapted so that the kids will eat it too.  Plus, as a hostess, it’s so nice to be able to leave the pot of beans simmering on the stove, virtually unattended, and enjoy guests. And an added bonus: the beans freeze well.  
I recently served this dish to some friends and their kids. I was so impressed when I overheard one mom pointing out the turkey sausage in the dish to her 3 year old daughter by saying, “Look, mini hot dogs!”  And... her daughter loved it! WP likes this dish as well - most days anyway.  
Red Beans & Rice
1 lb dried light kidney beans
2 quarts water
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
2 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 rounded T thyme
1 1/2 rounded T oregano
1 1/2 t garlic powder
3/4 t cayenne
2 bay leaves
1 lb smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch slices (I prefer Hillshire Farms)
Green Onions
Cheddar Cheese
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Rice, prepared
Green sauce, such as Tobasco or Emeri’s Kick It UP Green Pepper Sauce

Soak beans overnight. Drain beans. (To speed up the process, you can bring them to a boil, simmer 2 minutes, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour before the next step. If you use this method, do not drain the soaking water.  Simply add enough water to equal 2 quarts in the pot.)
Add 2 quarts cold water, bring to boil with onions and celery. (Note: I don’t use celery very often, so when I buy if for this recipe, I usually chop the whole bunch and freeze it in bags of 2 stalks. That way, I have some on hand for future recipes.)  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours until beans are soft and begin to thicken. Do not stir too often. I usually stir only a few times in the hour and a half. 
Stir in seasonings (which can be mixed ahead of time and stored in a plastic container) and sausage slices. Simmer 30 minutes more. 
My husband and I serve ours over hot rice topped with cheddar cheese, green onions, and green Tobasco. A nice adaptation for kids is to mush the beans with a fork, cut the sausage into tiny pieces, and mix them together with the rice, cheese, and a tablespoon of greek yogurt or sour cream (this cools off some of the heat). 


  1. Is this the same dish my mom makes? Love it!

  2. Yes - same one! We make it all the time!