Donna's StoryA long standing New Orleans tradition, every Monday, is cooking a big pot of Red Beans on the stove, or in this case, the crock pot and simmering it low and slow. My version doesn't add the sausage in the beginning, which allows the taste of the red beans and seasonings to stand out. Red Beans and Rice - A "Naturally N'awlins" delight.
dry kidney beans (camellia brand)
enough water to fill the pot
creole seasoning (tony cachere's or zatarain's)
drained soaked red beans
water to cover beans by 2 inches
bacon grease or butter
green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
pickled pork (not salt pork) or ham chunks
smoked sausage or andouille
cooked white long-grain rice
cayenne pepper or cajun seasoning (to taste)
salt & black pepper to taste
1Check dried beans for rocks and add to slow cooker and cover by 4 inches with water. Add granulated garlic, granulated onion, creole seasoning and bay leaves. Do Not Cook! Cover with lid and let beans soak in seasoned water until beans are doubled in size and plump or overnight.
2When beans are ready to cook, remove bay leaves and set aside, drain beans in colander and rinse well. The beans are dirty and soaking not only softens them but also removes the grit, while the granulated garlic, onion, and creole flavor is infused into the beans.
3Add rinsed beans back to slow cooker and cover with water by about 2 inches. Add all chopped vegetables, granulated garlic & onion, creole seasoning, bacon grease or butter and replace bay leaf. Stir, cover and turn on high until it starts to simmer.
4Turn heat to low and let simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally, then add diced pickled pork or ham. New Orleanians say "Pickle meat", and it's the absolute best meat to season red beans but if you can't find it use ham chunks. Do Not Add Salt, yet!
Depending on how salty the ham or pickle meat is, you may not even need to salt to the beans. If you want to add a ham bone, go ahead.
5Once the meat is added, stir well and cover. Check on it occasionally and stir. After 3-4 hours taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. If you don't want your beans spicy just don't add the cayenne. Be careful with the salt because the creole seasoning has a little salt - more can always be added but too salty beans are nasty.
6As the beans continue to cook the meat will become very tender. Once you believe they are done (test 5 different beans from the pot to check for doneness), remove lid, turn heat to high and allow to simmer. The liquid should be creamy, not soupy. Once it reaches the right consistency add smoked or Andouille sausage and turn the crock pot to low for about 30 minutes. Again, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
7Ladle red beans over white rice, garnish with sliced green onions and serve it with hot buttered cornbread! Enjoy!
8Important Things To Know:
If you're not familiar with Andouille sausage, it is highly seasoned. If you don't want the beans to be hot, but like the spice of the sausage then don't add the sausage to the pot at all. Bake it or fry it off (for flavor) and add it to your plate. If you don't like very spicy, use Smoked Pork sausage and go easy on the Creole seasoning. You can always add heat, but you can't take it out.
A lot of recipes call for adding the sausage to the beans at the beginning of the cooking process. I don't do this because the whole pot tastes like sausage and it's too strong and greasy. I've had so many people, even some who don't normally like red beans, tell me that they like mine.
Pickled pork is not what it sounds like. It doesn't taste like pickles and it is still raw, but it's been brined in salt water over a long period of time. It will feel slimy coming out of the package - that is normal!
There are three types of pickled pork that we can find here; Richard's, Savoie's and Tangi. Richard's is usually already cut up in odd shapes and sizes, while Savoie's is in strips and Tangi is a solid piece or two large pieces. I prefer Tangi because I can cut it up the way I like it, but it's all the same type and flavor of pork. If your grocer doesn't carry it you can find Savoie's online here: cajungrocer.com/savoies-pickled-pork.... This freezes well so order plenty for your freezer.
Pickled pork and ham/pork hocks are two completely different things and I NEVER, EVER use ham hocks.