Louisiana style Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice makes an easy ‘dump and forget it’ busy day family dinner. Add the beans directly to the slow cooker* then flavour it with spicy Andouille sausage and Creole seasoning. Serve this mouthwatering dish over a bed of fluffy steamed rice for an easy and flavourful dinner.
There’s nothing like a bowl of warm, inviting beans. Whether you start from scratch using dried pinto beans for Pinto Beans and Rice or combine a can of beans with ground beef to make beefy Baked Beans, this mighty legume makes a hearty meal.
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Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice
Red Beans and Rice are the ideal ‘hands off’, ‘busy day’, ‘dump it and forget it’ crock pot recipe. Once it starts cooking in the crock pot, the mouthwatering aromas filling your home are a bonus. The comforting flavours of this classic Creole comfort food scent the air, building anticipation and excitement as it cooks.
Dinner in the slow cooker means you are free to do other things. Like laundry, walking the dog, or shuttling the kids here and there. If you have a rice cooker, even better. Use a timer to delay start the rice and so that it’s ready when the beans are.
Best of all, this easy crock pot recipe is so versatile. Don’t have Tasso ham? No problem, use a smoked pork hock. Don’t like the spice or texture of andouille sausage? Use non spicy smoked sausage. Want to ‘kick it up a notch’ (to quote you-know-who) add diced jalapenos, more cayenne, or both.
What is Red Beans and Rice?
Red beans and rice are a traditional slow cooked meal from Louisiana. The name is a misnomer as it is, essentially, a meaty bean stew served over rice which is cooked separately. This Creole dish is the perfect example of a tasty and economical meal that makes use of leftovers.
This dish is an important part of the history of the South, where the remains of large Sunday meals became became the ingredients for Monday’s Red Beans and Rice. It is a simple and nutritious dish that needs very little tending to.
Ingredients for Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice
Red Beans and Rice always begins with the holy trinity of vegetables, green bell pepper, onion, and celery. Next is the Creole spice mix containing onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne powder, and dried thyme, oregano, or basil.
Creole and Cajun seasonings differ slightly but are often used interchangeably. Creole seasoning is slightly more herbal while Cajun mixes contain much more heat via cayenne, black, and white peppers.
Next are the beans. The most authentic recipes call for small red beans which are slightly smaller than kidney beans. However, if you can’t find small red beans, light red kidney beans are a common replacement.
*NOTE: Eating raw or undercooked kidney beans can cause nausea, severe vomiting, and diarrhea. When using kidney beans, soak the beans in water for at least 5 hours then discard the water. Next, boil the beans in new water for at least 30 minutes then add to the slow cooker. Reduce slow cooking time to 4-6 hours.
Finally, let’s talk meat. Since this is a ‘use what you have’ recipe, use all or any combination of ham (such as a ham hock), sausage, pork neck bones, or Louisiana Tasso ham. This Red Beans and Rice recipe contains andouille sausage, a spicy smoked coarse sausage from Louisiana.
Deep Origins, New Beginnings
I would be remiss to provide a recipe for Red Beans and Rice without first supplying a bit of history. For this reason, we must travel back to Africa, and in particular to West Africa.
Beans and rice are a culinary combination found throughout the world, including West Africa. From there, this traditional food duo came to America via the Caribbean through the slave trade. It is a wonder that food with such origins can become so cherished and celebrated. Then again, it exists as a reminder of the tenacity of the human spirit.
There are many Latin American variations of beans with rice (feijoada – Brazil, gallo pinto – Costa Rica, arroz con gandules – Puerto Rico). However, it was the (1791-1804) influx of Haitians, free and otherwise, who brought their variations of du riz a pois to Louisiana. From there, the Creole cooks created their own version – Red Beans and Rice.
Today, Red Beans and Rice is celebrated in homes and restaurants as a Monday lunch or dinner special. It’s also a staple at large gatherings during Superbowl and Mardi Gras.
Creole vs Cajun
Creole cuisine revolves around influences found in Louisiana from populations present in the area before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. This included those of French, Spanish, Acadian, Caribbean, West African, German, Native American, and native-born slaves of African descent.
Cajun cuisine also draws flavours and techniques from the same cultural influences. However it is regarded more as ‘country cooking’, simpler in form than the more refined Creole or ‘city cuisine’.
How to Make Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice
To begin, slice the andouille sausage into 1/2-inch rounds then brown it in a heavy skillet. Set it aside and sauté the celery, bell pepper, and onion in the same pan until they become translucent. Add the garlic and Creole seasoning the cook a few minutes more. NOTE: You may skip sautéing the vegetables to save prep time, however the flavour will be less pronounced.
Next, add the tomato sauce and chicken broth to the bowl of a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker. Add the beans (par-cooked if using kidney beans) and cooked ingredients. Cook red bean sausage mixture on low for 8 hours or on high for 6 hours cooking time. For extra flavour, add a few bay leaves.
To thicken the stew, mash some of the beans on the side of the crock pot using a wooden spoon. Stir them in, then serve the Red Beans and Rice over rice. Note that the stew will naturally thicken as it cools.
Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for 1-2 months. Reheat over low heat, adding water or chicken stock as needed.
Spice it Up
The spice level of this dish can range from barely there to who dat?! depending on how spicy the sausage or Tasso ham is and much cayenne powder is added. You can make it more spicy by adding chopped jalapenos or hot sauce.
For a non-spicy version, use regular smoked sausage, ham and reduce the amount of cayenne.
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- 1 lb andouille sausage
- 1 lb dried small red beans
- 2 stalks celery; chopped
- 1 green bell pepper; chopped
- 2 cloves garlic; minced
- 1 onion; chopped
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp Creole seasoning
- Cooked white rice to serve
- Slice the andouille sausage into 1/2-inch rounds then brown it in a heavy skillet. Set it aside and sauté the celery, bell pepper, and onion in the same pan until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic and Creole seasoning, then cook a few minutes more. NOTE: You may skip sautéing the vegetables to save prep time, however the flavour will be less pronounced.
- Next, add the tomato sauce and chicken broth to the bowl of a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker. Add the beans (par-cooked if using kidney beans) and cooked ingredients.
- Cook red bean sausage mixture on low for 8 hours or on high for 6 hours cooking time. For extra flavour, add a few bay leaves.
- If you like, thicken the stew up by pressing some of the beans against the side of the slow cooker with a spoon and mashing them. Stir the mashed up beans into the sauce.
- Serve over cooked rice.
Creole Seasoning - 1 1/2 Tbsp Paprika, 1 Tbsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, ½ Tbsp basil, ½ Tbsp oregano, ½ Tbsp thyme, ½ Tbsp marjoram, 1/2 - 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper, ½ Tsp salt, ½ Tsp freshly ground pepper.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 446Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 2053mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 21g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.