I love when I can cook a meal solely with food and items that are typically in my refrigerator and pantry. Even better when the meal is using affordable items, has tons of flavor, and serves a small army. This recipe for red beans and rice is everything I’ve mentioned and then some.
My older kids and husband love rice, we literally have to buy it by the pound in order to keep up. So to have a recipe on hand that will use up any rice that utilizes leftover cooked rice is ideal, and I adore anything that leaves plenty of leftovers for the week. During the day I love to reheat leftovers for lunch and this red beans and rice recipe just seems to taste better as the days pass.
To simplify this recipe just a bit, I only used smoked sausage. You can use kielbasa or another form of spicier sausage, you can also add ham hocks or bacon for deeper flavor, but I just stuck with this smoked sausage since that’s what I had in the fridge. Once the sausage was cooked I removed it from the pot and set aside, then used the same pot for the veggies. I just love one pot meals, it makes clean up so much easier! I hadn’t planned to add white wine, but there were a lot of bits stuck to the bottom of my pot so I deglazed with a bit of white wine and it really added to the flavor!
To keep this recipe as authentic as possible, I stuck with the basics. Onions, garlic, green bell pepper and celery for the veggies. Cooking after the sausage adds the flavor that’s already in the pan to the veggies as well, bringing the flavors out even more.
Then everything goes back into the pot and gets simmered together for hours until it’s married into a rich and spicy flavor. The longer you can simmer, the better. I have gone anywhere from 2-5 hours with this, but you can go longer if you want. The liquid will reduce a bit and you want to continue to stir every so often.
Serve with prepared white rice and chopped green onions. My corn bread muffins, topped with butter, are the perfect finish to this meal.
If you want spicier or not as spicy, feel free to play with the measurements a bit. This was pretty spicy, as is, so I didn’t even add my usual hot sauce to it. I also didn’t miss the smokiness of the ham hocks or bacon because of the cumin and other spices, but recipes are made for experimenting with!
- 1 lb dry red beans
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound smoked sausage
- 1-2 tablespoons white wine
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced (ribs and seeds removed)
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 6 cups water
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 tablespoon Cajun (or Creole) seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dry basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon celery seeds
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 4½ cups prepared white rice
- 1 green onion, chopped
- Begin by soaking the dry beans as instructed on the packaging (overnight or quick soak option).
- Once ready to get started, add olive oil to a large dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat.
- Slice up the sausage, and add to the pot to brown it, stirring every so often. After about 6-8 minutes sausage will be cooked through.
- Remove from pot and place in a bowl to set aside for now.
- Deglaze the pot with the wine over medium heat, keeping the oils and bits from the sausage in the pan. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery. Stir to combine and be sure the oils are distributed all over the veggies. Saute until the onions are slightly translucent and softened.
- Combine boiling hot water with bouillon cubes, then pour into the pot with the veggies.
- Add the soaked beans, Cajun seasoning, basil, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, cumin, celery seeds and sugar. Stir to combine them all.
- Bring to a low boil, then simmer for 2-5 hours, stirring occasionally. Liquid will reduce.
- Serve with prepared rice, chopped green onions and hot sauce. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite affordable meal that utilizes pantry staples?
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