Red Beans and Rice

food-7151 When my husband John and I were early in our relationship, we took our first “weekend trip” to New Orleans. (This was years before the Katrina disaster.) New Orleans was an incredible place, especially when it comes to food, and I fell in love with Cajun and Creole cuisine at that point. Red beans and rice was something I particularly wished to recreate. Creamy, spicy, smoky, delicious comfort food, and it was cheap to make! The following recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s book, Louisiana Real and Rustic. (because when you want Cajun or Creole food, who better to ask than Emeril? Okay, maybe Justin Wilson, but I don’t have his books…) I reduced the amount of ham by half, and used andouille sausage instead of regular smoked sausage. (I had some left over from another wonderful Emeril recipe, Emeril’s Gumbo Turkey Ya-Ya. This is John’s specialty dish he makes every Thanksgiving holiday. This year, we even made it for Christmas Eve. Want to make it? You can see a copy of the recipe here: ) This is wonderful served over steamed rice. If you like a bit more spice, a dash or two of Tabasco does nicely.

2 T vegetable oil (or bacon grease)

1 c chopped onion

½ c chopped bell pepper

½ c chopped celery

1 t salt

½ t cayenne

¼ t ground black pepper

½ t fresh thyme leaves

4 bay leaves

½ lb chopped ham

½ lb andouille sausage, chopped (can substitute smoked sausage)

1 lb dried red beans, rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained

3 T chopped garlic

8-10 c water

Steamed rice



Heat oil or bacon grease in stockpot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, black pepper, and thyme for about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, ham, and sausage and sauté for 5-6 minutes more. Add the beans, garlic, and enough water to cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Add more water if the mixture becomes too dry or thick.


Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to mash about half of the mixture against the side of the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 ½ hours, or until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft. Add more water if it becomes too thick. The mixture should be soupy, but not watery.


Remove the bay leaves and serve over steamed rice.


  1. says

    There are not very many things in this world better than a good dish of red beans & rice. Not only does the picture look great, the recipe sounds fantastic. I’ve got to give your recipe a try.

  2. says

    The picture looks great and the recipe looks good so I will give this recipe a try! Gumbo can be “magical” and you can easily fall in love while eating it!

  3. Jeni Sanders says

    Made this today with some Scarlett Runner Beans from my garden. Will plant and harvest more of those large buttery beans this summer for future pots of Scarlett beans & rice. Thanx for the recipe!!

  4. Kathleen Bransford says

    Saw this recipe on Friday, was in the kitchen at 6 am on Saturday chopping vegies for a pot of fantastic red beans and rice (I doubled the vegies and halved the amount of meat)…and gluten free cornbread. I normally have eggs for breakfast but this looked to good to pass up and it made a delicious, nutritious breakfast. I will probably have it for dinner also….with a glass of wine and greens. Yummy! Perhaps my excitement is because I have never made this dish before I saw your recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. Max17 says

    This will be my ‘go to’ recipe for rb&r. I still need to follow the recipe exactly, but it’s a great basic recipe if you don’t have the ingredients. I doubled the onion and used celery salt (1 tsp; no celery in the icebox). No ham, so I overcooked 1/4 lb diced pork sausage then added veggies to saute. Added beans, chicken broth, and beer for 30 min in a pressure cooker. Pulled the lid and simmered another hour while I grilled 1 3/4 lb sausage. Put it all together and people didn’t stop eating until the rice, beans, and sausage were gone. I added Tobasco to mine, but everyone else was satisfied with the red pepper in the recipe. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Max17 says

      OK. After reading my post it sounds like I cooked a different recipe. I didn’t. I kept the proportions and seasoning the same. And this had the perfect consistency and flavor for beans and rice. Here’s what is important that I would have messed up: seasoning mix (thyme and bay leaves do it), mash some of the beans for a gravy consistency, proportion of beans/broth/veggies/seasoning. Mix up the pork meat and liquid to your heart’s content. Don’t change the proportions!


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