1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into thin half moons (I used Aidells.)
1 onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine (Mine was about 7-8 inches long.)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
5 cups chicken broth
1 pound dried small red beans, rinsed and picked over
1 bay leaf
1. Heat sausage in Dutch oven over medium heat until fat renders and sausage is browned, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel-lined plate, cover, and reserve in refrigerator. Cook onion, bell pepper, and celery in sausage fat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, beans, and bay leaf; bring to low boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are just beginning to soften, about 20 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW until beans are completely tender, 4 to 5 hours (or cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours). Note: If the beans appear too dry around the last hour of cooking, stir in an extra 1/2 cup of water.
2. Remove bay leaf. Transfer 1 cup bean mixture to food processor and process until very smooth, about 1 minute. Stir pureed beans and reserved sausage into slow cooker, cover, and cook on HIGH until heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.
Note: I processed the onion, red bell pepper, and celery in my food processor, since I was running short on time. This worked well.
Technically this recipe should just be named “Slow Cooker Red Beans” because it doesn’t include instructions for preparing rice, but I’ll stick with the name the way it is. My rice cooking method is 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water in a saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Works like a charm every time.
Up until this point, my only experience with Red Beans and Rice has been from the box that says Zatarans. I’ve never been a fan, it’s entirely too spicy for me even if I dilute it with extra rice. But Art loves Red Beans and Rice so I figured I would try this recipe out for him and, if it had the same pitfalls as the boxed stuff, I could always eat leftovers.
Wow, was it tasty! The texture of the beans was great, they weren’t as broken down as they are in the box sort. The flavors were spot on as far as I could tell, and the spice level was perfect for me. Just a little heat but nothing overwhelming. The true test was Art, since he’s the Red Beans and Rice connoisseur, and he loved it. I declare this recipe a resounding success and it’s all thanks to the 2009 Cook's Country Annual.