Louisiana Red Beans and Rice


I can’t think or hear the words “Red beans and Rice “ without thinking of that Sir-Mix-A-Lot hit song from the 90’s [I Like Big Butts], and how, “red beans and rice did miss her”.
Now the song is in your head isn’t it?
You are welcome.
*I made this 3 or 4 times with varying results and decided to go with the method and the sausage that gave me the tastiest results, the most like the red beans and rice we had and enjoyed so much when visiting NOLA last Fall and again this Spring, for this recipe.*

*Cooks note*: I used ham hocks a couple of times, but they mostly just made everything REALLY greasy, so if you want the ham flavor, but not the fat, just add a bit of deli ham [maybe 1/4 lb sliced whatever thickness speaks to you] - the most recent time that tasted the most like the num-num-nummy stuff we had in NOLA, was made without a ham hock at all.

INGREDIENTS:
4-6 servings

3 cans kidney or red beans, drained
2 or 3 cups water [start with 2 and add more if 2 hours into cook time, things are thickening up too much]
1/3 pound cajun sausage, sliced into rounds- or big 3 inch links depending how you like your sausage- I tried Andouille the first time I made this, but preferred just basic "Cajun" sausage I found at Public's [ and Walmart-*GASP!*]-- it tasted more like what I actually had in New Orleans]
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp Creole seasoning [ I used Tony Chachere's- {Zataran's is much heavier on the cayenne pepper, lighter on the salt though, just for comparison}] , or to taste [ I start with 2 and add a 1/3 tsp more salt, since the sausage adds a quite a bit of kick too]
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground sage
3 cups cooked rice
2 or 3 green onions for garnish, if desired*

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place the beans and water into a large pot with lid for stovetop cooking. I added all of the ingredients into the pot at one time and cooked them together for 3 hours [the first hour on medium heat, the next 2 on medium low heat, stirring every 30 minutes or so to be sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
If the bean mixture seems too watery,  set heat to medium HIGH to cook until they reach a creamy texture.

3. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions, served over hot rice and with some crusty French bread

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