I have always been a fan of Cajun and Creole cooking; the flavors and spices are among some of the best in my mind. In my opinion, great Cajun food simply has soul, and that’s what draws me to it. I grew up on comfort food and to me – Cajun food is just that, comfort food with a kick. So in honor of this past Mardi Gras, I made one of my favorites: Red Beans and Rice.
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- 1 lb. red kidney beans (dry, then soaked overnight in water)
- 5 Strips bacon sliced to 1” strips
- 3 Jalapenos chopped (seeds removed)
- 4 Ribs celery chopped
- 1 Green bell pepper chopped
- 5 Cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 Onion chopped
- ¾ lb. Andouille sausage thinly sliced (I substituted ¼ lb. with linguisa)
- 2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (The recipe below makes more than 2 tbsp. so just store the remainder, its great on fish or chicken)
- 3 Cups chicken broth (You can substitute with water)
- 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 Cups white rice
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 tbsp. paprika
- 2 tbsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. cayenne powder
- 1 tbsp. oregano
- 1 tbsp. thyme
- ½ tbsp. cumin
Cook your white rice to the directions on the package and then let them sit, covered until your red beans are done. Make sure to flavor your rice with a little chicken stock, parsley or whatever you desire.
Start with a 6 quart dutch oven and slowly render out the fat of the sliced bacon. You want to do this under medium-low heat so that you don’t burn the bacon but rather pull out all that fat goodness. Before the bacon starts to get crisp pull it out and set it aside.
Caveman Tip*** There should be all sorts of brown bits and grease in the bottom of the pan, that’s perfect, that’s what you want. It’s all those brown bits that help give the Red Beans and Rice those great flavors.
Now add your green peppers, onions, celery, garlic, and jalapenos to the pot at a medium heat. You will want to stir occasionally until the vegetables get soft.
Caveman Tip*** A trio of green peppers, onions and celery in the south is called the “ Holy Trinity” and it’s used as a base for most stews and soups. It’s very similar to the French version of the mirepoix which consists of celery, onions and carrots. Both are great as a base for a lot of dishes
Once the vegetables are soft add in your beans, bacon, sausage, 3 cups chicken broth, 3 cups water and 2 tbsp. of the Cajun seasoning.
Now bring the Red Beans up to a slow boil and then reduce the heat to low and put on the lid. You will want to simmer them for 30-60 minutes or until the beans are soft.
Caveman Tip*** I like to pull the lid off and cook the red beans without the lid for the last 20 minutes of so, this allows the sauce to reduce and concentrate all those great flavors. Besides I like my red beans and rice to be a little heartier as opposed to soupy
Once the red beans are done, place some rice in the center of a bowl and pour your red beans around the outside edge of them. I like to top with a little chopped green onion and serve. It’s delicious.
If you’re a fan of spicy trust me, Red Beans and Rice will become one of your favorites too!