I have to admit that I have a love affair with New Orleans and the great state of Louisiana. I love all that the city and the state has to offer from the sights and music to the fantastic cuisine. Lately I've been on a Cajun kick, as you can probably tell from some of my recent recipes.
Here is one based on a "Big Easy" favorite, red beans and rice. After weightloss surgery, I've learned to adapt recipes to fit my new lifestyle and I've done the same with this one. You can always use things like white rice, which is more traditional for this recipe. It's up to you. But here's my own updated version...
2 cups of dried pinto beans (the small package of beans)
1 ham hock
1 package of andouille sausage (sliced into bite-size pieces)
1 medium onion (diced)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
7 cups water
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans chicken broth (I used Swanson unsalted)
Brown rice for serving (I used boil-in-bag)
Red pepper to taste (optional)
The first thing you want to do is soak your beans overnight. I find this helps with the gas in them and also brings out the flavor more when cooking. The night before, open and sift through dried beans for rocks and misshapened beans. Rinse and put in crockpot, pour on cold water covering the beans and two more inches above. Put on the lid and let them soak overnight. The next morning, pour the beans back into a colander and rerinse. Make sure to pour out and rinse the insert of your crockpot. You do not want to use the same water you used for soaking the beans.
Place beans back in the crockpot after rinsing. Add in the ham hock, sausage, onion, garlic, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning and black pepper. Add 7 cups of hot water and broth. Do not overfill the crockpot with liquid. Cover with lid and cook 6-8 hours. I set mine on 8 so they would cook nice and slow throughout the day.
(Everything in the crockpot ready to go before putting the lid on.)
As the beans are finishing up, prepare rice. Spoon hot rice into bottom of bowl (as much or as little as you want) and ladle beans and sausage on top. Enjoy!
(Beans and rice with a dash of red pepper)
This recipe is great with rice, but also served up with fresh, hot buttery cornbread. I have to warn you though, once it starts cooking and between the garlic and Cajun spices, the smell is so heavenly that it will make your mouth water and belly growl in anticipation for just one bite. But believe me when I tell, you won't be able to stop at one bite, I guarantee you that. This ain't just any crockpot full of beans...it's one of the best you'll ever eat.
If you get the opportunity to make this recipe, I'd love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment and don't forget to subscribe! Hope you enjoy this variation of a Louisiana fave!