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.