New Orleans-Inspired Red Beans and Rice

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I love my Instant Pot. Mine is a 6 quart 7-in-1 multicooker that can saute, pressure cook, make yogurt, steam, cook eggs, among other things. I’ve had since 2016 when we bought our house and since then we bought a 3 quart and adopted another 6 quart. I love having multiple pots since I can cook so many things at once for meal prep or potlucks. If you haven’t purchased one, you should consider it!

New Orleans has a special place in my heart. I’ve been there twice with my husband: once around Saint Patrick’s Day (when he proposed) and then the following year during the summer. NOLA is a place full of soul, cobblestone-lined streets, parties, raucous visitors, and the sound of music spilling out of every bar.

NOLA is a place full of magic. There were so many wonderful shops to walk through. There was a store solely dedicated to Christmas decorations and several others that sold only masks.

Exhibit A: There is legitimately a store called “Santa’s Quarters” on Decatur Street that sells Christmas stuff. All. Year. Round.
Exhibit B: Mask Factory, one of many shops in town dedicated to masks.
Exhibit C: I became a snow leopard that day…

A favorite memory – aside from getting engaged after the Saint Patrick’s Day parade – is of us wandering Bourbon Street late into the evening after a nap and dinner. I don’t remember where we were going or why, but I recall the NOPD mounted police trotting along. Once we got to one end of Bourbon Street at the corner of Canal behind Walgreens and across from Krystal, a band took up their instruments and started to play. They were jamming out beautiful jazz music and a crowd formed to watch. NOPD mounted police took up a stance at the intersection of Bourbon and Canal to detour traffic. It was amazing. I remember dancing along and laughing, wishing that we never had to leave.

I also love NOLA for its food. The food has African, Latino, French, Spanish, and Haitian (among other) influences. You can see these influences in delicious dishes like etoufee, jambalaya, dirty rice, and gumbo.

One of my favorite New Orleans dishes is red beans and rice. Growing up, I ate my parents’ pinto beans and rice with meat, chicken, or fish, which was delicious. This is a New Orleans-inspired version which is spicier and includes meat cooked at the same time as the beans. I’ll post a Dominican beans recipe for those who still want savory beans but not the spicy. (Of course, you could always adjust the spice level in this recipe to suit your tastes.) For the New Orleans-inspired version, read below!

Today’s cast of characters photo only features the spices I used for this recipe. I find that these are the non-negotiables for my take on red beans.

Please note that my recipe ISN’T exactly dump and go. It can be if you put dried beans straight in to pressure cook with the rest of the ingredients, but I find the texture and overall flavor to be much better with pre-soaked beans. There are plenty of articles of you Google “should I soak my beans” that give you opinions either way. What’s more important is the receiving audience of your food creation. So, ultimately, you do you.

Soaking is easy. I pour a pound of dried beans into a medium bowl and add water until the beans are covered by at least a 1/2 inch. Then, I walk away for 8-10 hours. Afterwards, I drain the beans in a mesh sieve and set aside for the cooking process.

Equipment List

  1. Instant pot. I used my 6 quart Duo 7-in-1.
  2. Medium sized bowl.
  3. Wooden spoon.
  4. Chefs knife.
  5. Vegetable chopper.
  6. Cutting board.
  7. Slotted spoon.
  8. Measuring spoons and cups.
  9. Ladle for serving.

Ingredient List

  1. 1 pound of dried (or soaked and drained) kidney or small red beans.
  2. 1/2 to 1 pound of andouille sausage.* (See tips below)
  3. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  4. 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock.
  5. 2 cups of water.
  6. 3 stalks celery.
  7. 1 green bell pepper.
  8. 3 cloves (or more) of garlic.
  9. 1 medium white or yellow onion.
  10. Black pepper to taste.*
  11. Creole seasoning blend (I used Tony Chachere’s) to taste.*
  12. Cayenne pepper to taste.*
  13. 2 teaspoons dried oregano.
  14. 1 tablespoon smoked paprika.

Tip #1: You can use any sausage you like. Traditionally, this is made with the bone and bits of a ham hock from the previous evening’s meal. That imparts smokiness to the dish. You can also omit the meat entirely for a vegetarian-friendly version. If that’s what you are looking for, then swap the chicken stock for veggie stock.

Tip #2: The black pepper, Tony Chachere’s, and cayenne pepper amounts are all up to you. Want a mild heat? Go for 1/2 teaspoon each. Want to kick it up a notch Emeril-style, then “Bam!” your way to go spice heaven with a 1/2 a tablespoon or adjust as you go. Remember that you can always add more but not take away.

Tip #3: I did not add salt to this recipe because Tony Chachere’s contains salt.

Recipe Instructions

  1. Chop celery, onion, and garlic.
  2. Slice, remove the seeds, and chop the green bell pepper. (Note: I recommend you chop the veggies into uniform-sized pieces.)
  3. Cut your sausage into even sized medallions.
  4. Turn on your pot to sauté and “more” to increase the cooking temp quickly.
  5. When the displays “HOT” put in 2 tablespoons of oil.
  6. Sauté sausage for a few minutes until browned on both sides.
  7. Remove the sausage.
  8. Sweat the vegetables in the pot until they are translucent. Use the wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits and deglaze the bottom of the pot. The veggies will release their liquid and make it easier to do this.
  9. Add back the cooked sausage and their juices.
  10. Add the beans.
  11. Add the chicken stock and water to cover the mixture by about 1/2 to 1 inch.
  12. Season the mixture with the spices and mix. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings close to your preference.
  13. Close the lid and lock it in. Set the valve to sealing.
  14. Select the manual or pressure cook button and use the +/- buttons to set the cook time to 40 minutes.
  15. When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pot naturally release pressure for about 20 minutes. (The display will read “L 00:20.”)
  16. Quick release the remaining pressure and carefully open the pot.
  17. Stir the red beans, taste, and adjust seasoning (if needed).
  18. Remove about a 1/4 cup of beans and liquid and place into a bowl. Using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a ladle, mash the beans. Add the mashed beans back to the pot and mix to incorporate.
  19. If you want the red beans thicker, mash more beans and add them back in. Keep in mind that this will thicken up slightly anyway.
  20. Serve with hot rice and a scatter of green onion.
  21. You can dot it with hot sauce (Krystal) if you want some additional heat.
The result after mixing in some mashed red beans to naturally thicken this up.
Plated with some Instant Pot Jasmine rice and a scattering of green onion from my backyard garden. Yum!

If you enjoyed this recipe, please give it a like and let me know in the comments below how you like your oatmeal. Share this with your friends and subscribe to this blog!

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Buen provecho! – Sami B.

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