Red beans and rice is a traditional Louisiana area Creole dish, often seasoned with ham bones or other pork products but very delicious without as well. It’s a richly flavored dish either way and makes the most superb leftovers.
You can use already cooked beans or beans that have just been soaked (either the quick method of pouring boiling water over dry beans and letting sit for an hour or two or the 8-hour version). The version below uses soaked, but not cooked beans but just decrease the cooking time if you’re using already cooked beans and use some of the bean cooking liquid in your preparation.
Add some salt pork, bacon or ham bones or hock if you’d like. Add the salt pork or bacon to the onions etc. when sautéeing. If using a bones or a hock add when you add the liquid.
–inspired by Rancho Gordo
Serves 8 + (and makes fantastic leftovers)
1 lb (dry, uncooked weight) red beans (any kind and frankly black and pinto beans work just fine too), soaked and drained (or already cooked–see headnote)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 medium carrots, grated or finely chopped
2 stalks celery plus their leaves, if attached, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped (can omit in a pinch)
2 teaspoons fresh or dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh or dried sage, chopped
Dried hot pepper such as cayenne or other red pepper flakes, to taste (start with just a few pinches of cayenne or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Water, bean cooking liquid, or vegetable stock (about 4-5 cups if using soaked beans, less for already cooked beans)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Quick-pickled red onions and fresh parsley for serving (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper, thyme, sage and hot pepper and a few pinches salt. Sauté for 7-8 minutes until fragrant and softening. Add the garlic, bay leaves and pimenton and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add soaked and drained beans and combine well. Add liquid to generously cover beans and vegetables and add soy sauce. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, stirring occasionally until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid and continue cooking to reduce liquid (if it’s a bit soupy) and add vinegar and salt and additional hot pepper to taste. Simmer for another 30 minutes or until you have a rich sauce-y consistency. Serve hot over rice, garnished with pickled onions and parsley.