Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

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"Everyone with roots in southern Louisiana, where red beans and rice is a staple, thinks that their mom makes the best version," says 2019 F&W Best New Chef Kwame Onwuachi. "But I'm the only one who's right. Growing up, my mom used this recipe as a base, sometimes adding in smoked turkey necks or smoked, spiced, and cured tasso ham, in addition to the ham hocks and andouille sausage that impart their smoke, fat, and spice to the Holy Trinity (celery, bell peppers, and onions) and, of course, the sturdy red kidney beans." To read more about how Onwuachi takes inspiration from Louisiana foodways, and for more great Southern recipes like this, see his story, "In Her Footsteps."

Red Beans and Rice
Photo: Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
55 mins
Soak Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
14 hrs 25 mins
Yield:
6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried red kidney beans (12 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 (14-ounce) andouille sausage, sliced crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-thick pieces

  • 1 large (12-ounce) yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 2 medium-size (7 ounces each) green bell peppers, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)

  • 2 medium (3 ounces each) celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 ½ tablespoons House Spice (see Note)

  • 2 (14-ounce) smoked ham hocks

  • 6 cups vegetable stock

  • 4 (4-inch) thyme sprigs

  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Perfectly Steamed Rice (see Note)

Directions

  1. Place beans in a medium pot or bowl; add water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 12 hours).

  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add oil, and heat until shimmering. Add sausage; cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Transfer sausage to a plate (do not wipe Dutch oven clean); let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to stir into beans.

  3. While sausage cools, drain soaked beans; set aside. Add onion, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to Dutch oven; cook over medium, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add house spice; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add beans, ham hocks, stock, thyme, and bay leaves; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook very gently until beans are completely tender and ham hock is fork-tender, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes. Start checking for doneness after about 1 hour. (The beans could take up to 3 hours, depending on how old they are.)

  4. When beans are completely tender, remove from heat. Remove and discard thyme and bay leaves. Transfer ham hocks to a small bowl or a cutting board; remove and discard bones and skin, and shred meat. Transfer 1 cup red beans and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until mixture is velvety smooth, about 1 minute. Stir pureed mixture back into red beans in Dutch oven. Stir in shredded ham and cooked sausage. Bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sausage and ham are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve red beans alongside perfectly steamed rice.

Note:

Associated Recipes: House Spice

Perfectly Steamed Rice

Make Ahead

Red beans and rice can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 4 days or in freezer up to 3 months.

Suggested Pairing

Spicy, fruit-driven red: Bedrock Wine Co. California Syrah

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