Nana’s Kitchen: Red Beans and Rice

Nana’s Kitchen: Red Beans and Rice

Greetings, home cooks, welcome to Nana’s Kitchen,

This next week several events are coming together. First is Mardi Gras and second Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is a carnival celebration beginning on or after the Feast of the Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. It originated in Italy and is celebrated in other countries including Italy, Germany, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and the U.S.

Tuesday is also called Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. Everyone is aware of the celebrations in New Orleans with the Mardi Gras. Good food, King cake, parades, costumes, bright colors, beads and music make up the Mardi Gras. Enjoying some excess before the beginning of Lent, a time of fasting, reflection, and reconciliation. Christians use this time of Lent to follow the events that led to the Resurrection of Christ. Fat Tuesday was traditionally a time to use all the fats in the house in preparation for the fasting and abstinence.

Since New Orleans is in the forefront this week a dish common to that region is shared today. Red beans and rice is a Louisiana Creole dish (not originally a Cajun food). Traditionally it is eaten on Mondays.

As the stories goes Sunday dinner was usually ham. Monday was laundry day. In order to use the ham a dish with red beans, onion, celery, bell pepper, spices, and the left over pork bone and meat was made. The beans simmered on the stove while the laundry was done. Rice was added to complete the meal. 

Today red beans and rice is not only served at home but in many Creole restaurants. Besides the Sunday ham, spicy sausage is used (commonly Andouille), as well as Tasso ham, a smoked, spiced, cured meat. 

Our dish today is made in the slow cooker using canned red beans, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder to make the dish easier. Slowly cooking to combine flavors. 

Red Beans and Rice

1 1/2 cup chicken broth 
2 15 ounce cans red beans, drained
1 15 ounce can red beans, Undrained
1/2 pound smoked sausage thinly sliced, use Andouille or other smokey sausage as you like.
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 

Cooked rice prepared as per package instruction. Use your favorite, enough for 6 persons

Add all the ingredients to the cooker except the rice. Stir to combine.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or longer as needed, until the vegetables are soft.
Serve over hot rice.
Garnish with sliced green onion or parsley.

This is a gluten free dish.
I used a white onion that took 5 hours on high in the slow cooker to cook to my taste.
I mashed the beans a few times with the potato masher to thicken the beans a little before serving. My personal preference.
This dish did not need salt. Taste before adding any salt.
Used Andouille sausage, spicy and smokey. 
Used Basmati rice I had on hand.
Left overs can be frozen, after cooled, and used within 3 months.

Have a blessed Sunday.