Comfort food is what I’ve been indulging in the most these past few weeks. The funny thing though, I never had Red Beans and Rice until I had a strong and persistent craving for some not too long ago. So it’s true what they say (my parents), over time you just start liking things you never used to like. I did just have a birthday, so in my 33rd year I welcomed Red Beans and Rice and I’m so glad I did.
So just in time for Red Beans Monday, I’ve created a Quick Red Beans and Rice recipe for those of us whose craving don’t leave much time for soaking dried beans overnight. For this recipe I’m using canned kidney beans but don’t worry, y’all know I’m all about the building flavors and texture and this recipe does not disappoint. The creole & cajun spices are balance and on point! What I love the most about Louisiana dishes is the slow process of developing flavors and how each step builds on the next adding deeper levels of rich and intentional flavors.
These Quick Red Beans and Rice are savory, packed with tender aromatics, smokey sausage, and cooked down a creamy slow simmered gravy. Whew!! Okay, let’s get started.
Quick Red Beans and Rice
Drain the canned beans and rinse them in cold water. Take about 1/2 cup of the beans and put them in a bowl and mash them with a fork until pasty. This will help us with thickening the gravy. Put the beans aside until we’re ready for them.
Using a large pot or a large deep skillet, heat the oil on medium high heat. Add in your sausage and brown on both sides for about 7 minutes. Use whatever sausage you like but I recommend andouille or smoked for the best flavors. Add in the onions, celery, green peppers, garlic, and stir everything together. Cook the vegetables until they are tender and fragrant. Your kitchen should smell amazing at this point!
Add in the tomato paste and dry seasonings, stir well. Pour in your chicken broth, beans (including the mashed beans), bay leaves, and stir everything well. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot. Let it simmer for 35-40 minutes until the gravy has thickened and the texture is creamy.
So because we are using canned beans this recipe does not cook as long as it would if we were using dried beans, which means the gravy doesn’t have enough time to develop on its own. We will have to create the texture that we’re looking for in red beans and rice by making a slurry. A slurry is a thickening agent for hot liquids such as soups, stews, and gravies. For this recipe we are going to use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch + 2 tablespoons of COLD (again, COLD) water. Mix the two ingredients and add the slurry to the red beans mixture while stirring. You will start to feel and see the gravy thickening and becoming creamy.
Creole inspired red beans and rice. Rich, hearty, and flavorful.
- 2 –15 ounce cans red kidney beans
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 13 ounces smoked or andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- Cooked rice for serving
- Salt & pepper, to taste (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons COLD water
- Drain and rinse your beans in cold water. Put about 1/2 cup of beans in a small bowl and mash them using a fork or the back of a spoon, then set aside. This will help thicken the texture.
- In a large pot heat the oil over medium high heat and add in the sausage. Brown the sausage on both sides for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the onions, peppers, celery, garlic, and sauté until tender and fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, cajun seasoning, creole seasoning, cinnamon, paprika, thyme, and cayenne pepper.
- Pour in the chicken broth, beans, mashed beans, and bay leaves. Stir everything together very well. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot. Let simmer for 35-40 minutes until the gravy has thickened and achieved a creamy texture. If you want a creamier texture then continue on to make the slurry.
- Mix the cornstarch and cold water together in a bowl then pour it into the red bean mixture and stir well. You will start to see the texture become thicker and creamier.
- Once done, remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.