This recipe is one of my favorite comfort food meals in the whole world. Years ago, back before I learned how to cook real food, my mom would occasionally serve red beans with smoked sausage at our family get-togethers. When she offered me leftovers, I gladly took her up on the offer. A home cooked meal instead of a frozen Lean Cuisine for lunch was a real treat back then. Ha! Seriously, I hate to think about how many of those I ate back in the day.
I had some red beans and rice at a Catfish restaurant a few months ago, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. The craving to have it again was strong, so I decided to create my own version at home. I used my favorite andouille sausage from Teton Waters Ranch. If you can find this in your area, then you have got to get some! It’s made with 100% grass-fed beef. No, this is not a sponsored post. As I’ve mentioned before, I just really love the quality of their products! Our local Natural Grocers carries their products, and I believe that Costco also carries their products.
Anyway, back to the recipe. This Crockpot Red Beans and Rice is my version of the classic dish. I’m not trying to say that this is 100% authentic. I’ll leave that to the people of Louisiana. Typically, a ham hock is used. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have a ham hock laying around whenever I get the craving for this dish. I do usually have bacon in the fridge or freezer however. 🙂 The bacon adds a bit of smoky flavor that the ham hock would normally provide.
If you can’t find or don’t want to use andouille sausage, you could substitute some smoked sausage or kielbasa. Also, you can adjust the heat level by adding more cayenne and black pepper. The salt level and spiciness can vary with sausage brands, so just keep that in mind. I like to wait until the end of cooking to add the salt and pepper in dishes like this.
I served mine with white basmati rice because that’s what I keep on hand. You can serve it over whichever kind you prefer.
*I’ve made this on the low and high setting in my crockpot, and I really prefer the results from the low setting better. I just think it yields tastier beans, but either way, this is delicious!
- 2 cups of dried small red beans , sorted, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
- 3 slices of bacon , cubed
- 1 large white onion , diced
- 1 large green bell pepper , diced
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 (12 oz) package of andouille sausage, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 cups cooked white (or brown) rice (usually 1 cup of dried rice = 3 cups cooked)
- Optional garnish:
- thinly sliced scallions
In a skillet, cook the bacon until crispy and brown. Remove from pan and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease. Add the onions, celery and green bell pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and veggies have begun to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
Add the drained beans to the crockpot, along with the vegetables, sausage, bacon, oregano, cayenne, thyme and chicken stock. Give a gentle stir, place the lid on, and let cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Shortly before the beans have finished cooking, start preparing the rice. Scoop some rice into each bowl, then pour the red beans and sausage over the rice. Top with scallions, if using, then serve.