Monday, February 16, 2015

Mardi Gras Special: Red Beans and Rice – Comfortably Yum

Any time someone asks the question, “What exactly is soul food,” the answer should always be a comforting bowl of red beans and rice. Just sit them down, give them a spoon, and when they finish, ask them if they understand. They will.

Like I say in the intro, there are thousands of ways you can make this, using all sorts of smoked pig parts and sausages, but there are really only two ways you can serve it – thin and soupy, or thick and creamy.

Once you slowly simmered your beans, and they’re very, very soft and tender, and your meats are falling apart, you’re ready to serve. If you ladle it up as is, you’ll have something that’s fairly loose, with most of the beans still whole. It’s great like this, and based on my travels to New Orleans, the more common style.

However, another popular technique is to smash and stir some of the cooked beans into the mixture as you continue cooking. This creates a much thicker, and creamier consistency, which I really enjoy when I want something a bit more substantial. It’s closer to a chili texture, and I love how the rice sticks to it.

This is totally up to personal taste, so if you’ve never made it before, try some on rice as soon as the beans are tender, and it’s still pretty juicy. Check it out, and then, if you want, you can continue cooking/smashing/stirring to end up closer to where I did.

Regardless of how thick you make yours, you’ll want to soak your beans overnight in cold water before starting the recipe. If you forget, which you will, you can always use the quick method. Bring the beans to a boil in large pot of water, turn off the heat, and let it sit there for an hour or so to soften up, and become easier to digest.

If you put enough meat in it, this is more than a meal, but it also makes a great side dish for barbeque, or pretty much anything. Throw in some collard greens, and maybe some cornbread, and let the good times roll. I hope you give this easy, red beans and recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 8 portions:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced or cubed
1 cup finely diced onion
3/4 cup finely diced celery
3/4 cup finely diced green peppers
4 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 smoked ham hock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 quarts chicken broth or water, plus more as needed to adjust consistency
1 pound red kidney beans, soaked overnight
about 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
hot sauce to taste


Unknown said...

Hey Chef John! Do you take the ham hock out and pull the meat off? Or do you just leave it in there as is?

Aaron said...

Chef John, did you use the meat from the ham hock after it was done cooking?

Jesse from Detroit said...

It's like you read my FoodWishes mind! So excited you posted this recipe...

Mark said...

Hi, Chef John

Do any parts of the US have a pancake day like in Ireland and England?

And do you have any special pancake recipes for a special pancake day?


Jeff said...

I'm so happy you posted this recipe! I tried a similar recipe once, but it ended up tasting really bad. I would advise everyone to be very cautious when buying andouille sausage. I asked my wife to stop by the store to pick some up and she brought back some brand we were not familiar with. It tasted horrible. We didn't realize this until the dish was ready to serve. :(

What do you think about brining beans (par America's Test Kitchen)? There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding that technique.

Tou said...

We need more comfort food recipes!

Tou said...

We need more comfort food recipes!

Unknown said...

I think it looks delicious ... but i'm German and a lot of the stuff we eat looks not particularly pretty for you Americans and vice versa.

My comfort food is the pea-soup my mother makes.

Diced potatoes, slightly browned "Mett"sausage slices, peas (of course ;D ), soup greens and sometimes diced "Kasseler" (which translates to smoked pork chop).

Very German (i think) and very delicious (IMHO of course).

Chef John said...

Yes, I did eat the meat from the ham hock with the beans.

Unknown said...

Chef John, I love you. Thank you so much for finally covering this recipe.

Food Junkie said...

Thanks for sharing your version of this great comfort dish. I made some smoked hocks in the fall and they have been waiting in the freezer for this dish. Looks like it will be a red beans and rice weekend.

Paul D said...

Chef John, I dig your viscosity.Reigning celebrity chef champ of the internet!

Unknown said...

You say to use red kidney beans. Are not all kidney beans red?

Unknown said...

Chef John,
First of all let me say that I am a massive fan of yours, and have been for the past 6 years. I am currently living in New Orleans, and eat Red Beans around once a week. Out of all of your NOLA inspired dishes you have made, this one stays the most true to tradition. Your passion for food shines through in every video, and I could listen to you say "And as always, enjoy" on an audiobook for 6 straight hours on a loop. Kudos to you and keep up the good work!
-Harrison Frank, Tulane University

AFB said...

Delicious. I make this often and it's a great slow cooker recipe. I dump the soaked beans, hock, bay leaves and water in the slow cooker before work, then the rest of dish comes together in about half an hour. It's just a matter of sauteeing the veggies and sausage, add seasonings and simmer for like 15 minutes for all the flavors to combine.

Toshiko Suisei said...

Hello Chef John,
The Andouille sausage I bought (the only available at high-end market here) looked exactly like the sausage in your vid, smelled great, and added amazing, wonderful flavor to the dish. But by the time it was ready to eat, that sausage had already given its all and tasted/felt like little chunks of cardboard in an otherwise incredible everything else!

I think next time I'll slice them into long strips so I can fish them out easily before serving. Just a suggestion for those of us far from NOLA... if they still have good texture/taste you can give them a chop and throw them back in.

Unknown said...

My comfort food Mt. Rushmore... hmm. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a region with great comfort food!

(Seafood) and Grits since there are so many variations. My two favorites are Shrimp and Grits (midlands-style! I like Charleston's take, but my mom has a recipe that makes me feel home) and Salmon and Grits, usually the canned stuff since Wild Salmon in the Southeastern US was definitely not a thing when I was growing up.

Oxtail Stew. Have mercy. My mom can make an oxtail sing. I've since come up with my own version, but I still can't beat hers. It never really got too cold back home, but that stew would warm any chill you've ever had.

Stewed Hen. We can still get stewing hens back home since we're in close proximity to many, many poultry farms, and there is nothing like a stewing hen cooked long and slow with a Vidalia. Just the juice from the roasting pan over rice feels like you ate a full meal.

Collard Greens. Oh man. My auntie makes the meanest collards this side of any polygon that you can name and any arbitrary geographical location you can reference. Green and brassy, sweetened with pork fat and just slightly spicy. I could eat an entire pot myself if you let me.

Unknown said...

Just made this and it is amazing. It is for my crew at work tomorrow but I am temped to eat it all myself right now (and I bet a could make a serious dent in it!).

Found red beans (not kidney). Went with smashing some of the beans so it is the consistency of split pea soup.

I took the ham hocks out.

Chef John, am thinking about making a large batch of this for an event. If I wanted to make a 32 serving batch, could I just quadruple all the measurements?

Chef John said...

Yes! Enjoy!

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Dang Chef! I'll has ya' knows' dat' I now be in Creole Style Red Beans heaven! Dang it's good! I did nevertheless trick it up jest' a tad by sneaking in a few frozen cubes of recaito that I'd previously prepped. I'd even be willing to bet that Tuco, if he were to sample this, would be exclaiming, "Tight!, tight!, tight!" Thanks! Your da' best!

kcho said...

i substituted the ham hock with bacon and added the "slap ya mama" cajun seasoning (from amazon)....turned out delish!

Jack Reynolds said...

- Beef tips on rice. This is my favorite thing. I added some mushroom powder to the gravy of my last batch and hit a new personal record.

- Roasted Italian sausages, peppers, onions, and potatoes. This needs no explanation.

- Potato Surprise. Half my family is from Buffalo and everyone there has their own version of this. Store-bought shredded or diced potatoes, diced onions, creams of whatever soup, cheese, etc. All baked together. In Utah they're called funeral potatoes.

- A Tex Mex plate. Rice, refried beans, and 2 or 3 simple Tex Mex specials like hardshell tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas.

Close Runners-Up: Pho dac biet and a porky com tam plate with broken rice, charbroiled pork, a weird quiche thing, fresh and pickled veg, topped with a sunnyside up egg browned until crispy on the bottom, and some fish sauce.

Unknown said...

This was really good!

BCastex said...

Hello, chef John. I amfrom Brazil where we eat rice and beans just like that everyday. It is our national staple food, we use red beans, black beans, any kind of brown colored beans. We cook it with bacon, jerk beef, sausage, any pork meat. But we don't cook it for hours like you Americans. We toss everything into a pressure pan and in about 20 minutes the beans are tender. Then we simmer it without the lid (open pan) to thicken and we usually mash part of the beans just like you did. So, in less than one hour we have our beans ready.
Why are Americans so afraid of using pressure pans??

Unknown said...

I basically only had canned kidney beans and rice at home and I made a very, VERY quick version of this: sauteed onions, canned beans with their liquid, water (with stock cube), rice, lots of smoked paprika. Kind of shameful to make, but actually delicious!

Unknown said...

I was taught that if you add Salt to your Beans too soon. It makes the bean hulls tough. Is this just an old wives tale or is there any validity to it?
Love the recipe. It is new and different than my version.

Unknown said...

I used this recipe when I cooked my read beans and rice! The beans was very tasty and delicious!

Regina said...

I can't believe I've just discovered your blog and youtube channel - so many amazing recipes but I think I'll try this one out first. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more.

Unknown said...

this came out great. the only thing I would do different is cut the thyme in half and use 1 and 1/2 qts. of chicken broth. I had to reduce mine down. other than that it was perfect. thank Chef John you came through again.

Super duper mom said...

I grew up in NOLA. Yes, we had red beans and rice every Monday for our school lunch. Traditionally, they leave the sausage whole, but my mother always sliced hers up and browned it first the way you do. It helps preserve some of the flavor in the meat. You have inspired me to make this traditional dish from my childhood again. Thanks. Oh, but I always use brown rice. Honestly is there ever any reason to use white rice? It literally has no flavor. None. Just empty calories.

Unknown said...

I have made this several times since it first came out. It is the most delicious combination of flavors! I use poblano peppers as Chef John does and it is very flavorful. I also use smoked sausages when I cannot find Andouille. Either works very well. Thank you Chef John for what has become a family favorite. I am taking a big batch of this to my high school reunion! They know me for playing guitar and for cooking! Your recipes are true inspiration to me.

Tarjei T. Jensen said...

I would think that if the beans have not been soaked there are two aditionally ways to work around that problem.

1.find some container and fill it with some sand and beans. Perhaps water as well. Shake the container so that the outside of the bean gets damaged. Wash beans afterward. This should make it easier for the beans to draw water.

2. Smash the beans up. They should now behave much like split peas.

Unknown said...

I made this today--seemed appropriate for Easter for some reason. It is delicious! I used 1.5 lbs beans, 'cause I love beans, plus threw in one dried chipotle pepper (since I have a few). I used 1 qt chicken broth (homemade) and the rest water, which turned out great. I recommend a splash (1 tbsp?) of decent vinegar (like sherry or red wine) at the very end to give it that finishing touch.

Anyway, thank you for the great recipe!

Jabay said...

You have helped me redeem myself, thank you. I made this tonight, and I'm allowed to make beans again (I had been banned from making beans for a couple years! >.< ). This was great.

Unknown said...

Hello Chef John,
Love your blog and recipes. I have followed you for years and have made countless of your recipes with a large percentage of success.
Question for you, I am going to make the red beans and rice recipe this weekend I sent my grandson to the store to pick up items that I needed for the recipe, he came back with a 1 lb bag of small red beans instead of the larger red kidney beans. Will they work anyway or do I need to return to the store for the larger size?
Hope to hear from you soon keep up the good work.
Thank you.

Unknown said...

The small red beans are fine I use them all the time.

Unknown said...

What if i only have canned beans?

Jimmyv123 said...

Looked at a lot of recipes for Beans and Rice. Having lived in the French Quarter for a time I got to taste the real deal. Hence, and due to the fact I always, always check in on you to see your version of most everything I cook, it appeared your take was the most basic no nonsense recipe, except for the poblano peppers. That threw me a bit. I love Poblano peppers and was tempted to add them but I refrained, even though they have a more complex flavor. It’s just I didn’t want to mess with the Trinity.

Brett M said...

Hey Chef John. Did you simmer this covered or uncovered?