Classic Red Beans & Rice

Probably This is going super #NOLAgirl native with this post's recipe that, yeah, is nothing new, but is literally on everyone's mind every single Monday of every single week all over New Orleans, Beau and I included.

Historically, red beans were a Monday thing because Monday was laundry day, and without washing machines, laundry was a big, all-day ordeal, so dinner needed to be something that didn't need a ton of attention. Fast forward to the 21st century and (surprise) Mondays still suck, and the last thing you want to do when you get home from the first day of that fresh hell called "the work week" is figure out dinner. So the tradition still makes sense and hangs around. The only work you really have to do is chop some stuff up. Then everything goes into a crock pot that gets left on low the whole day while you're reading BuzzFeed gif articles at work and it's amazing and delicious and waiting for you when you get home.

My personal relationship with red beans hasn't been qutie as cut-and-dry, if I'm gonna be quite frank. A former picky eater, I've come as far as there is to go in terms of how many foods I'd eat if put in front of me. My mom loves telling the story of how I ate nothing but tater tots for a strange six-month period when I'm pretty sure my parents were the least responsible humans in America, for that one reason alone. Some of my favorite foods before and after that little semi-era were chicken nuggets, fried okra, and the flakey fried casing of onion rings, but please hold the actual onions.

So there wasn't too much I ate at all back then, but the absolute demon food with the smell and appearance of literal Satan was absolutely red beans. Every Monday we'd go to my Me-me's house where my parents, my cousins, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my brother—everyone but me—ate these horrible wretchedly creamy slime things and I'd have PB&J, like a sane person.

Something happened to me as a teenager or something where I started being just too generally hungry a person to even care anymore. First thing I stopped hating was onions, then olives, then alfredo sauce, then eggplant, then mustard, and so and so on down the line until it came to the very last item on my list of no-nos: red beans.

And you guys they're one of my favorite things to make, eat, all of that. They're so easy and just like perfect for little get-togethers and like showing off how authentically New Orleans you are. So I'm gonna share with you my super secret recipe that's not actually very inventive at all but just classic and delicious. Enjoy!

Classic Red Beans & Rice

prep time 20 minutes // cook time 8 hours* // serves 12 - 15

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 14 oz smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4" rounds

  • 4 large stalks celery, finely chopped

  • 1 whole onion, chopped

  • 1 bell pepper, chopped

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, slightly packed + extra for garnish

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 lbs dry kidney beans

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 10 cups chicken stock**

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • Fresh cracked pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper to taste

  • Fresh-cooked white rice and corn bread (links to recipes we prefer)

  1. In a cast iron skillet or large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sausage rounds to brown them, about one minute on each side.

  2. Scoop sausage and any extra grease/butter into crock pot along with literally all of the remaining ingredients, excluding the rice and cornbread. Give a good stir and set to the "low" setting. Let simmer, covered, for 8 - 12 hours.

  3. Serve with fresh cooked white rice and cornbread, garnish with parsley.

*The longer you let them sit in the crock pot, the thicker, creamier, and more amorphous the beans will be. Keep it shorter if you want the dish more soupy and the beans more whole and separate.

**You can get creative with the stock.  Last time I used this recipe I had a quail and bacon stock that I incorporated. One time Beau made a whole rabbit, and stock from that made its way into our red beans the next week.