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French Quarter Red Beans and Rice

Updated: May 9, 2022

From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis, 2020 Click here for more on my best-selling cookbook!

I’m in the French Quarter this week and I’ve got a present for you! It’s the internet premiere of my French Quarter Red Beans and Rice recipe. I’ve never shared this uber-popular dish from The Infinite Feast cookbook on social media or my website before.

Helpful hint: the pot you use will make a difference in your cooking time. A heavy Dutch oven will get the job done the fastest. The most important direction in the method below is: “Cook till beans are tender!”

French Quarter Red Beans and Rice

Makes 6 servings

Red beans and rice is traditionally served on Mondays, but I eat it every day. This recipe is for red kidneys, not smaller red beans. The latter cook faster. Extra credit: if you have a big old ham bone, include it while cooking, for extra yum.

1 pound dried red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 to 5 ribs celery, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1 scant teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

7 or 8 ounces ham steak cut in 1/2-inch cubes

12 ounces andouille sausage, cut in 1/2-inch slices

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

Cooked white or brown rice

To a large Dutch oven add beans and 10 cups water, bring to boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak in water another 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat till shimmering. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves. Stir together and cook till vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add cayenne, thyme, ham, sausage, cook till vegetables are soft and meat is heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir meat and vegetable mixture into pot with beans and water.

Bring to a full boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat.

Cook till beans are tender, uncovered, stirring every 10 or 15 minutes, about one hour. If mixture is sticking to the bottom of pot your heat is too high. Remove bay leaves, stir in butter, and cook 5 minutes more.

Serve over your favorite rice, with a garnish of grilled sausage or chicken fingers, and a hunk or two of French bread!

Red beans and rice: das niiiiiiiice!

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