Cajun Red Beans and Rice is comfort food, to those in the know. Learn how to make Cajun red beans and rice, Paul Prudhomme style. Served over rice and accompanied with Andouille sausage, this meal is a healthy family favorite!
The first time I ate red beans and rice was while visiting my in laws. I don’t think they were my in laws yet, and little did they know they’d soon be welcoming a nice Jewish girl into the fold. Now my MIL grew up outside of N’Awlins in Gulfport, Mississippi and she cooked Southern style. Being the sweet girl that I am, I tried not to look to appalled at the heap of beans and rice upon my plate. This is a food blog, don’t you know, and let’s just say that heap didn’t look too appetizing…to say the least. I hesitate to describe in graphic terms what it reminded me of…but being the sweet girl that I was…and still am…I took a bite of cornbread and then a bite of red beans and discovered that despite what they looked like… red beans are very, very good.
Well, as they say first comes love and then comes marriage, and then I had to try my hand at my MIL’s best red beans and rice recipe. It is a soothing recipe made with Eckrich smoked sausage and that sausage was specified. If I could find it in my extraordinary filing system on the 3×5 index card that it is written on, I would copy it here for you now. But I spent 10 minutes looking for that perfectly hand written card that I can see with my own eyes, but of course, I can’t find it!
It so happens after a few years of this recipe well, Cajun, became a thing. Paul Prudhomme became a thing and so did New Orleans…but when wasn’t it? I quickly latched on to Paul and his recipes, and Manservant and I discovered that we preferred his spicy, but still comforting version of Cajun red beans and rice. With Mardi Gras around the corner I figured I’d give this to you…with love…because that’s how my MIL always served it. Well. With that and a big hunk of cornbread!
For the record, for some odd reason I remember when we last ate this at my MIL’s house. It was January 16, 2016 as we passed through Houston on our way coming home from Costa Rica. Red beans and rice is great for a crowd. My MIL, who is now in the throes of Alzheimer’s, made it for the family that stopped in to wish us a quick hello. Good memories. Good red beans and rice!
A few more from some great food bloggers:
Cajun 10 Bean and Ham Soup from The View from Great Island
Homemade Dirty Rice from Southern Plate
Cajun Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet from Lemons for Lulu
Cajun BBQ Shrimp from This is How I Cook
Red Beans and Rice is comfort food to those in the know. I like my red beans Cajun style, which means spicy nice! Served over rice and accompanied with Andouille sausage, this meal is a healthy family favorite!
- 1 lb dry red beans with water to cover the beans
- 3 lbs ham hocks (optional)
- 16 c water or chicken stock in all (You may not use all of this)
- 2 1/2 c finely chopped celery
- 2 c finely chopped onions
- 2 c finely chopped green peppers
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 t white pepper
- 2 t dried thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 t garlic powder
- 1 1/2 t dried oregano
- 1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
- 1 T Tabasco
- 1 t red pepper, preferably cayenne
- 1 –2 lbs smoked sausage such as kielbasa or Andouille (I buy Saags chicken Andouille) cut into large chunks (Depends on if you are using ham hocks)
- 4 1/2 c rice
- Cover beans with water 2 inches above the beans. Let stand overnight. Drain before using or See Notes Below!
- Place ham hocks, (if using), 10 cups of water or stock, celery, onions, green peppers, bay leaves and seasonings in a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer until meat is fork tender, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. (If not using ham hocks, add the drained beans here.)
- After 1 hour remove ham hocks and set aside. If just using beans , bring them to a boil with seasonings from above, reduce heat and simmer for 60 minutes stirring occasionally, uncovered. If more water or stock is needed feel free to add. Stir in the sausage and continue simmering until the beans start to break up, about 35 minutes. Scrape bottom of pot fairly often. If the beans start to scorch, do not scrape up the bottom. Just transfer mixture to another pot. If beans are almost done, add back ham hocks and cook and stir 10 minutes more.
- Serve over fresh cooked rice with a bit of sausage or ham hock and about 1 cup of red beans.
This is a perfect recipe for your slow cooker or your instant pot. I have neither, so I do it the old fashioned way. I soak my beans overnight or combine them with enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour, then proceed with recipe. Sometimes you do need to cook these longer and add more liquid, especially if you live at high altitude. This can also be made with canned beans. Four 15oz cans is the approximate equivalent to 1 lb of dried beans. I have used ham hocks, though I didn't with this recipe. They give great flavor. After removing the thick skin from the ham hock, I shred the meat and added it back towards the end of the cooking time. Traditionally red beans and rice is served on Mondays for lunch in New Orleans.
I like to top my red beans and rice with a little minced onion and Tabasco and cornbread on the side.
Keywords: Red Beans and Rice Cajun Style, Red Beans and Rice, Cajun Food, Mardi Gras recipes, Red Beans