This week’s recipe is the perfect meal to make on a lazy weekend. It’s time consuming but also incredibly easy, relatively inexpensive, and not overly labor intensive.
The only problem with red beans and rice, really, is there’s enough chopping involved that it’s really helpful to have two working arms; at least if you’re used to using both and and heavily favor one.
So, like an idiot, I managed to injure myself exercising, and the right arm I usually use was not as useful as I would have liked. I could tackle most things, as sausage and celery are relatively easy even with a weakened arm. I called in my sweetie and sometimes sous chef to help with the rest of the prep for the red beans and rice.
He did most of the stirring, actually.
But barring that, this was a simple delight that I really enjoyed eating, especially as leftovers.
I mostly followed the Serious Eats recipe, though I didn’t know how to easily and cheaply track down ethically made pork shoulder or ham hock. Instead, I replaced them with just a little 6 oz. slab of Beeler’s ham. It was perfectly fine, and less expensive.
I still sprung for my favorite D’Artagnan andouille sausage.
After 2 hours or so on the stove top and a lot of waiting semi-patiently, the wonderfully tasty and filling meal was ready, with plenty of spare to enjoy too!
Here’s what I did:
- 1 lb. dried red kidney beans
- Salt, for dried beans
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 1 lb. andouille sausage, cut into ½ inch disks
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t. ground sage
- 2 t. dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- Pepper, to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste (I used about 1 ½ t.)
- 6 to 8 oz. ham
- 6 to 8 c. broth (water will work, but I liked having the extra heartiness)
- Hot sauce, to taste
- Cider vinegar, to taste
- Cooked white rice, for serving
The night before you plan to make the meal, or the morning before, place the dried beans in a bowl with water, covering the beans by a couple inches, and add a few pinches of salt, stirring until it’s dissolved. Let stand for 8 to 16 hours, before draining and rinsing.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook until the vegetables have softened and the onions are just starting to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Add the cayenne, sage, black pepper, and thyme. Stir to mix.
Add the beans and the broth (or water) until the liquid covers the beans by about 2 inches. Add in the ham and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the beans are completely tender for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and turned creamy, 30 minutes to an hour. Season with hot sauce and cider vinegar, just before serving, and enjoy with prepared rice!