Savory, Saucy, Red Beans & Rice

by Terri Peña

This dish turned out to be a real challenge because of the rice. Most recipes that involve rice and the slow cooker have the rice cooked separately. When I am concentrating on cables, it is unlikely I will stop in time to make rice, so that was not going to work. I remember a meal we made a couple of times at camp that involved rice in a dutch oven, so I was confident I could make it work in a slow cooker.

The key to red beans and rice in the slow cooker is the layering. The rice and beans need to be down at the bottom of the pot so they are submerged at all times. Other than that this recipe is VERY flexible.

No read beans? Use any other type you have on hand. No vegetable stock? You can use another type, or increase all of the seasonings and use water. You may notice in the photographs that I used a red pepper instead of green. Does it affect the flavor of the final dish? Yes, but not enough for me to walk up to the store for a green pepper. Those cables are not knitting themselves.

Savory, Saucy, Red Beans & Rice

Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients

  • Andouille Sausage (totally optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (you can substitute beef, chicken, or water)
  • 2 cups red beans that have been soaked overnight
  • 1 cup rice (a long grain white, or even brown will work nicely)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • Garnish with Cotija Cheese if you have it

Cooking Directions

  1. Add ingredients in layers, do not stir.
  2. Rice
  3. Beans
  4. Onion
  5. Green pepper
  6. Garlic
  7. Sprinkle seasonings on top and pour broth over the whole thing.
  8. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the beans and rice are fully cooked.

My household holds both vegetarians and carnivores.  To keep them all happy I placed the andioulle sausage in a tightly wrapped foil packet and positioned it on top of the beans and rice mixture.  The sausages cooked right alongside the beans and rice, and everyone was able to have a bowl just the way they like it.  If this is not an issue at your house, add the sausage, either sliced or whole, to the pot with the other ingredients.

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Photos © Terri Peña.