Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
By Kath Dedon
I am very picky when it comes to slow cooker recipes. They have to be easy to put together in the morning. They have to be able to cook all day while I’m at work (if not, what is the point?). They have to be truly delicious. I haven’t found many recipes that qualify, but Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice is a winner!
It took me, maybe, 20 minutes to put it together in the morning. That included time to take photos. To save more time in the morning, I don’t see why you couldn’t chop the vegetables and measure the spices the night before. They could be combined in one bowl and refrigerated overnight. In the morning, just toss it all in the slow cooker with the soaked beans, water, and ham hock!
I found the original recipe, from an April 2003 issue of Cooking Light, online. It called for cooking the Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice on high heat for 5 hours. I wanted to cook it all day. I put everything in the pot and set it on High for one hour while I got ready for work. When I was ready to leave, I set it to Low for the day.
When I got home the aroma was mouth-watering! I checked it at 5:30 in the evening, 11 hours after I had first turned it on in the morning, and the beans were cooked perfectly! The flavor was fantastic!
I made some rice and cooked the sausage to add to the beans and dinner was ready! Bob (who knows his Red Beans and Rice from his years in New Orleans) gave it a big “thumbs up” and 5 stars! This one’s a keeper!
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice is spicy, but not overly so. Serve with Tabasco for those who want to take it up to the next notch!
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
(Adapted from a recipe originally published in the April 2003 issue of Cooking Light)
5 – 6 servings
(Can be doubled and cooked in a 6-quart slow cooker to serve 10 – 12. Scroll down to the end of the post to see my update.)
1 cup dried small red beans (or red kidney beans)
3 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
¾ cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ham hock (about 1 pound)
1 bay leaf
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound sausage (I used Cajun Chicken; Andouille would be great)
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
¼ cup chopped green onions
I used small red beans:
1. The night before cooking, rinse the beans, and cover with plenty of water. Cover the pan or bowl and let them soak overnight at room temperature.
Beans covered with water to soak overnight:
2. The next morning, drain the beans. Combine them with the 3 cups water, onion, bell pepper, celery, thyme, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, ham hock, bay leaf, and garlic in a 3½ – 4 slow cooker. Set on High.
Meaty ham hock
Ingredients in slow cooker ready to cook for the day:
3. After about an hour, lower the heat to Low. Let cook all day, for 9 – 11 hours.
4. Remove the ham hock from the beans and set aside to cool a bit.
1/2 pound Cajun Chicken Sausage:
5. In a small skillet, cook the sausage until done. Slice and add to the beans.
6. Add the ½ teaspoon salt to the beans.
7. Remove the meat from the ham hock and cut in bite-sized pieces; add back to the beans.
Update February 17, 2014:
I originally made this recipe in my 3½-quart slow cooker. Yesterday I doubled the ingredients and successfully made it in my 6-quart slow cooker. It worked beautifully to make a fabulous meal for 7 with leftovers for Bob and me. Paired with rice, it would have easily served 10-12 people.
This time I used Hempler’s Andouille and Camellia Red Kidney Beans, which are the very best beans to use for Red Beans and Rice. I was introduced to them by one of my Louisiana cousins. Use them if you can find them; they do make a difference!
Instead of cooking the andouille in a pan, I used my steamer pan to steam it for about 15 minutes before slicing it and adding it to the slow cooker. It was a good way to extract some of the fat. You could also just slice the sausage and add it to the cooker for the last hour or so.
I doubled the ingredients to fill my 6-quart slow cooker.