Red beans and rice is a quintessential Creole dish, right up there with gumbo and jambalaya. Versions can be found across Louisiana and the Low Country, but most start with the classic sauté of green peppers, celery, and onions, a.k.a. the holy trinity. In our take on the Southern classic, we dice the andouille sausage—instead of slicing it into more traditional coins—so each spoonful gets a pop of texture and flavor. We also incorporate ground sage, which rounds out the smokiness of the pork with its herbaceous, woodsy notes.
For the best red beans and rice, skip the canned bean aisle and vow that this time you’ll actually remember to soak dried red beans in cold water overnight. (And if you still forget, you can quickly rehydrate them in your Instant Pot or on the stove.) Simmer the soaked beans low and slow on the stovetop until they’re rich with the flavors of chicken stock and store-bought Cajun seasoning. Of course, every Southern home cook has their own way of doing things, and you should feel free to take some liberties too. Swap in a smoked ham hock, kielbasa, or another smoked sausage for the andouille. Seek out the classic New Orleans choice of Camellia red kidney beans—or use a different kind of dried bean altogether. Douse the whole thing in hot sauce. Opt for brown rice instead of white rice. Or, make your own Cajun seasoning blend with paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder, among other spices. No matter how you spin it, this blueprint for smoky Louisiana red beans and rice guarantees a big bowl of comfort.
Serve the cooked beans with a side of collard greens, cornbread, and a garnish of thinly sliced green onions. Pro tip: These red beans taste just as good the next day, if not better.
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