Red Beans and Rice

by Sarah on February 11, 2013

It’s that time of year again people!  The time that everyone on the planet can celebrate Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday even though we are in no related to or are in any way Catholic or a resident of New Orleans.  It’s the spirit of the thing, right?  I will admit to the fact that I have never, ever been to New Orleans, though I would very much like to visit at some point in the near future.  My friend Kristen and I always planned on going there for a certain monumental birthday but…um….we didn’t.  Maybe we’ll get there for the next big decade birthday!

Anyhoo, what better way to participate—other than drunkenly showing your boobs for some paltry plastic beads—than to make some delicious New Orleans-inspired chow?  Feel free to drink yourself silly Tuesday night.  And if you want to lift your shirt to unsuspecting spectators?  Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone.

Red beans and rice, you’ll want a bit of time to prepare for this one.  You’ve got to soak the beans overnight—this is definitely one instance that you don’t take the easy way out and use canned beans.

You have to cook it and cook it and cook it until that tough old ham hock falls apart.  This takes a little bit of time.  What’s that saying again?  Something about good things come to people who cook their ham hocks for a long time, or something like that.

OF COURSE I never follow any conventional recipe or instructions, because I’m kind of a jerk like that.  Instead of using traditional sausage, like andouille, I purchased some bulk Louisiana hot sausage at my local butchery, Morant’s Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen.  You might not have a Morant’s in your town, so go ahead and use andouille or some other spicy sausage.

My only advice to you in this process.  Expect it to take some time.  Start today, maybe you’ll eat tomorrow.  The longer this stuff sits in it’s most excellent juices, the better it tastes.  Serve it ladled over some cooked rice and garnished with sliced green onions and before you know it, you’ll want to throw some beads in my direction.

This recipe really feeds a crowd–feel free to cut in in half if you want.  The red beans part should freeze fine if packaged properly.

*Adapted loosely from my used bookstore copy of Louisiana Real & Rustic by Emeril Lagasse, 1996.  A surprisingly good cookbook.


Red Beans and Rice


  • 2 lb bag red kidney beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 lb bulk Louisiana sausage, or 1 lb andouille, sliced
  • 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into half-circles
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 6 ribs celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme, or a few sprigs of fresh
  • 6 bay leaves
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 box chicken stock (3 cups)
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 bunch green onion, sliced
  • steamed rice, approximately 6 cups.


  • Put dried beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water. Let soak overnight.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Saute the onion, bell pepper, celery, cayenne, thyme and a generous pinch of salt and pepper for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the bay leaves and bulk sausage and let cook until the bulk sausage is crumbled and about half cooked through. Add the sliced sausage and ham hock and cook another ten minutes, until very fragrant.
  • Add beans, garlic and chicken broth. Add enough water to cover the contents. Bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally for approximately two hours. Add more water if the mixture becomes too thick.
  • Use a potato masher or spoon to mash about half the mixture against the bottom or sides of the pot. Remove the ham hock and shred the meat. Return the ham and bone back to the pot. Continue to cook until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft.
  • Remove the bay leaves and ham bone and serve over steamed rice and garnish with sliced green onions.

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