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Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Dive into the heart of comfort food with our ultimate Red Beans and Rice recipe, a dish steeped in history and bursting with flavor. Originating from Louisiana, this dish is a Monday staple, traditionally prepared to utilize Sunday's leftover ham.


Bowl of red beans and rice

The History Behind Red Beans and Rice:

Red Beans and Rice is more than just a meal; it's a cultural icon. Its roots can be traced back to Louisiana in the early 18th century, serving as a testament to resourcefulness and tradition. Originally a dish made from Sunday's ham leftovers, it has evolved but still retains its essence: simplicity, flavor, and community. This dish is a celebration of Creole and Cajun cuisines, embodying the melting pot of cultures in the Southern United States.


Today, it stands as a testament to soulful Southern cooking, carrying the spirit of New Orleans with every bite


Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of red or kidney beans, soaked overnight

  • Smoked turkey leg or necks

  • 1 large Onion, finely chopped

  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced

  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced

  • 2 stalks Celery, diced (optional for added flavor)

  • 1 cup of your favorite sausage

  • 2 tablespoons of Onion Powder

  • 2 tablespoons of Garlic Powder

  • 1 tablespoon of Smoked Paprika, for that rich, smoky depth

  • 2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning, adjust according to spice preference

  • 1 tablespoon Black Pepper, freshly ground

  • 2 teaspoons Pink Himalayan Salt, for a mineral-rich seasoning

  • 4 cups Chicken Broth/Stock, homemade or store-bought

  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

  • 2 cups White Rice, rinsed and drained



Instructions:


1. Prep Your Ingredients: Begin by preparing your bag of fresh red or kidney beans. They'll need a good overnight soak before cooking. Then finely chop your onion, dice the red and green peppers, and if using, dice the celery. This mirepoix, or holy trinity of Southern cooking, forms the flavor base of your dish.


2. Spice It Up: In a small bowl, mix together the onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, Cajun seasoning, black pepper, and pink Himalayan salt.


3. Cook the Base: In a large pot over medium heat and butter, cook the sausage. Then sauté the onion, bell peppers, and celery (if using) until they start to soften.


4. Season Well: Sprinkle the mixed spices over the sautéed vegetables, stirring well to ensure they're evenly coated. Allow the spices to cook for a minute or two.


5. Simmer with Stock: Add in the smoked turkey leg or necks. Pour in the chicken broth and beans and bring the mixture to a simmer. It will take about 2-3 hours for the beans to cook if you soaked them overnight. Plus you want to get all the flavors cooked in well.


6. Rice Time: In a separate pot, cook the white rice according to package instructions. Opt for a fluffy variety like Basmati or Jasmine for best results. Remember, perfectly cooked rice makes or breaks this dish.


7. Shred the Turkey: The turkey meat will eventually start to seperate. When the meat is tender, remove from the pot and shred. Then add it back in and cook until the beans are tender.


8. Garnish and Enjoy: Serve your red beans and rice hot, garnished with freshly chopped parsley. The fresh green adds a pop of color and a burst of freshness to the dish.



Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Red Beans and Rice:


Flavor Layering: Building flavors at each step is key. Sautéing spices along with the vegetables unlocks their full potential, infusing the dish with depth and complexity.


Rice Selection: Choosing the right rice is crucial. Long-grain varieties ensure a fluffy texture that perfectly complements the rich, flavorful beans and vegetables.


Adjusting Heat: Cajun seasoning comes with its own heat level. Start with a conservative amount and adjust according to your spice tolerance.


Cooking Liquid: Using chicken broth as your cooking liquid adds an extra layer of flavor that water simply can't match. For a vegetarian twist, vegetable stock works beautifully as well.



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