Cool weather has finally arrived and it is time to break out the sweaters. OK, just kidding about the sweaters – it is not quite cold enough here for that yet. But it is cold enough (just barely) to break out the recipes for the stews, braises, and chili I have been waiting patiently to make. I decided to start with an easy red beans and rice recipe. Everything goes into the slow cooker in the morning and eight hours later, dinner is ready. Few things are more comforting than digging into a steaming dish of warm beans and rice smothered in cheese after a long day.
This recipe comes from a restaurant in town known for their southern style dishes with a cajun flair. One of their signature dishes is red beans and rice. Their original recipe doesn’t call for a slow cooker but I have always felt like it should. With a 3 hour cook time on the stovetop, this recipe seemed like a natural candidate for a slow cooker conversion. And, since this dish always tastes better after it has had a chance to sit for awhile to let the flavors deepen, an all day simmer was perfect.
- 1 pound dried light red kidney beans
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
- ½ large bell pepper, chopped
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ rounded teaspoons thyme
- 1 ½ rounded teaspoons oregano
- 1 ¼ teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 12-16 ounces smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch slices (I used chicken andouille sausage)
- 7 cups water
- Hot cooked white or brown rice, for serving
- Shredded Cheddar cheese, for serving
- Chopped green onions, for serving
- In a 6 quart crockpot, add dried beans, onion, celery, salt, spices, and sausage. Pour in 7 cups of water. Then cover and cook on High setting for 7½ hours.
- During the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove cover, give everything a light stir, and allow to simmer for remainder of cooking time. This will allow the mixture to thicken.