Friday, January 23, 2009

Crockpot Red Beans and Rice

If you are looking for a cheap, healthy, and easy meal this is for you. I was worried about how my kids would respond to this, but I tried it because I've been trying work more beans into our diet (cheap and healthy right). And guess what, they actually liked it! We will be having this again (maybe next time on a Monday as is the tradition in New Orleans). I think it's an awesome winter dinner with a side of Cornbread with butter and honey. Very down home and comforting.

Crockpot Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. dry red or kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
1 lb. andouille or other smoked sausage, sliced (I used a smoked turkey sausage and it was great)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I just eye-balled it with my pepper grinder)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 cups cooked rice

The night before:
Rinse dry beans. Place beans in a bowl and cover with water (beans need to be covered by at least 2 inches of water). Let sit 8 hours or overnight.

Drain beans and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute sausage slices until slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside.

Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to skillet and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Pour beans, sausage, and onion/bell pepper/celery mixture into crockpot. Add salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, crushed bay leaves, and cayenne and stir well. Add low sodium chicken broth (broth should cover beans by at least 1/2 inch; more if you like soupier red beans with your rice).Cover and cook on high for about 8 hours. At 6 hours check beans to see if its the thickness you'd like. At this point I added 3 tablespoons of Ultra Gel (cornstarch) just to thicken it more and I also mashed some of the beans with a potato masher. Serve over cooked rice.

(This is what it looks like before the broth is added. Ain't it pretty.:))

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