Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

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WORDS BY SHELBY WILSON

Now that it’s finally cold, red beans and rice are a great winter meal sure to warm you up! This recipe is hearty and filling. Just a note- be sure to soak your beans overnight if you are using dry beans ( you can use canned) and then boil them in fresh water (not the water you soaked them in) for at least 30 minutes. That’s because red beans can be toxic if not properly cooked, and your crock pot won’t get hot enough to break down the kidney bean lectin.

You can put this recipe in the crock pot in the morning and enjoy the scent all day- by dinner time you’ll be ready to dig in!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound dried red beans, soaked overnight
  • 7-10 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced into rounds (you can substitute turkey kielbasa)
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • Green bell pepper, chopped
  • Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, or to taste
  • 4 whole basil leaves
  • 1 ham hock (optional)
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 3 or 4 green onions for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients into your crock pot. Season the mixture with pepper and Creole or Cajun seasoning to taste. I like mine just a little spicy, so be careful with the Cajun seasoning! Add the fresh basil leaves and ham hock (if using). Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or until beans are tender. If the bean mixture seems too watery, take the lid off the slow cooker and set heat to High to cook until they reach a creamy texture, or you can add a slurry of one tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of hot water to thicken. I serve this over white rice, but you can serve over brown rice as well. Garnish with chopped green onions. It’s hot and hearty- just right for a cold winter evening!