House of the red beans and rice, son

This Southern staple is both inexpensive and nutritious, plus it only requires a couple of cooking vessels. Also, this recipe can be easily prepared via stove top or slow cooker.

Note: Make sure all of your mise en place, your prep work, is done before you start cooking.

Cook time: 3 hours on stovetop. 4–8 hours in the slow cooker.

Serves: 8

1 large 5-quart pot or Dutch oven
1 medium size pot or 1-quart rice cooker
1 spoon or silicone tip spatula

1/4 cup of olive or vegetable oil (477 cal.)
3 cans (15.8 ounces) of kidney beans, rinsed (1116 cal.)
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped (106 cal.)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (43 cal.)
2 celery stalks, chopped (12 cal.)
2-4 garlic cloves, diced (8-16 cal.)
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon of parsley flakes
2-4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon of dried sage
1 pound of Andouille sausage, sliced (640 cal.)
6 cups of water or preferred stock

For rice:
2 cups of medium or long grain rice (1280 cal.)
4 cups of water

Step 1: Place a 5-quart pot on your largest burner on medium-high heat, pour in the olive oil. When the oil starts to ripple, toss in your onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook for 4–5 minutes or until the onions start to turn translucent.
Stir often.

Step 2: Pour the 6 cups of water or stock into the pot. Add the beans and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and let simmer for 2.5 hours.

Step 3: During the 2.5 hour simmer time, prep your rice. In a bowl large enough to easily hold 2 cups of uncooked rice and enough water to cover, allow your rice to soak for at least half an hour, then drain.

Step 4: Once the 2.5 hours are up, remove the bay leaves and add the Andouille sausage. Let this cook for another half hour, stirring every couple minutes. During this time pour the rice and 4 cups of water into another pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes—or simply pour the rice and water into your rice cooker and let that do the work.

Step 5: Serve your beans over the rice and enjoy.

Replace 2–3 cups of water with a light tasting beer to add a bit of a wheaty flavor to the beans.
Replace sage and thyme with oregano if you don’t have any of the former.

For the slow cooker, add all the ingredients listed (except the rice) to the pot and set the cooker for 4 hours (8 hours if you’re going to be busy and out of the house).

To add more flavor, sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and sausage before adding them to your slow cooker.

Vegetarian option: Use vegetable stock in place of water and meatless sausage instead of Andouille.

If you can’t find Cajun seasoning (or just don’t want to shell out money for it) use equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and paprika to replace the teaspoon of Cajun seasoning.