Years ago, my son and I had Red Beans and Rice in New Orleans – and if you’ve had that experience, you know how the flavors of that dish can literally haunt you; you’ll think about it, taste it again in your mind, and not be satisfied until you have it again. Luckily, its only a food or I’d sound like some kind of crazy stalker…
My son once tried to undermine me at a school conference and blurted out we had “no food” in the house! He meant junk food, being jealous of his friends with freezers full of hot pockets and pizza rolls.
The teacher, knowing me and my love of cooking just looked him up and down and said, “Well it’s not like you’re eating beans and rice.” We both started laughing because that was exactly what we had the night before – and were planning on eating that night. Leftover it’s even better than the first night.
Being a Northerner, I often use Kielbasa instead of the lovely Andouille sausage. Do stay away from turkey sausage for this dish, which lends an “off’ flavor.
If you’d like a bit more heat, pass the hot sauce. While many serve this as a simple meal on its own, it is a bit light on the veggies and can be heavy – think smaller portions and why not go full on Southern and pair it with super healthy Braised Turnip (or other) Greens?
Red Beans & Rice
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 bay leaves
- salt to taste
- 1 pound red beans, rinsed (I like the small beans, not kidney, if available)
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 7 cups water
- 1/2 pound andouille sausage, smoked sausage or keilbasa
- 6 cups cooked rice
- hot sauce
- chili relish (optional – this has been very difficult to find in the north in recent years)
In a Dutch oven, preferably a heavy one, cook bacon till lightly browned. Remove all but a tablespoon of fat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently till soft. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.
Add the rest of ingredients up to the sausage, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a vigorous simmer (should be steaming and several bubbles breaking the surface) and cook, uncovered, stirring now and then till the beans are soft and most of he liquid is absorbed, about 2 1/2 hours.
Stir in sausage and cook till liquid is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes, stirring now and then. (I often add my sausage in a bit earlier.) Serve over the rice with the hot sauce and/or chili sauce, store-bought or home-made, passed as a condiment.
from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Nutrition: This might be a day you want to sneak a lot of green/yellow vegetables in elsewhere.
Per Serving: 494 Calories; 7g Fat (12.7% calories from fat); 30g Protein; 78g Carbohydrate; 15g Dietary Fiber; 13mg Cholesterol; 672mg Sodium. Exchanges: 5 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat.
Put your own spin on it:
Vary the sausage, as I did, and vary or increase the vegetables. You can also throw in a ham hock, taso, or other ingredients to up the flavor quotient and add to the creaminess of the dish.
My Pay Off:
A filling, hearty, very cost-effective meal with plenty of leftovers. I actually like to put a serving of rice covered with a serving of beans and freeze in a tupperware for lunches, before it’s wolfed down.
Red Beans & Rice made September 2011 for $2.57. Remade and repriced in April of 2014 for $3.72. The only sales pricing that was actually more was the Rice and the Bacon; the sales prices are holding steady for the other items. Part of the extra cost was I didn’t wait for a good sales price on the beans and spent about 50 cents extra and made this when peppers (the most expensive of the vegetables) were out of season: I overpaid about 66 cents.
By the way, if I carelessly spend an extra 66 cents a meal, it’s an extra $722.70 a year – not a huge mistake, but it adds up. For some it’s a pittance, for others a meaningful amount. It’s all in the perspective, isn’t it?