|Quick Red Beans and Rice made with The Trinity, bacon, smoked sausage and canned kidney beans - you'll never believe they're a shortcut version!|
Shortcut Red Beans and RiceRed beans and rice made from dried beans are delicious, but of course, like any dried bean, take a bit of time to stew on the stove top. When I was living in New Orleans one of the gals that I met through my then boyfriend was a true born and bred New Orleans gal who had lived there all of her life. We hung out with them regularly, and one evening she and her husband invited us over to watch a movie and eat red beans and rice for dinner. She and I were in the kitchen chatting and I noticed that she was only just then beginning to sweat down The Trinity and I didn't notice any beans going on the stove yet either. This was gonna be some late supper! Then, I saw her reach into the cabinet and much to my surprise, pull out cans of kidney beans. What??
Now ... even over here in Mississippi, I always knew red beans and rice to come from dried beans, and though the process of preparing the beans can be shortened with the quick boil method, it is still, well, a process that takes a few hours to complete. I had never seen anybody make red beans and rice from a can, never mind somebody from New Orleans!
Well, yesterday, I was in the mood for red beans and rice but when I went to the pantry, I didn't have any dried beans. Now I've been wanting to do a shortcut version of my homemade red beans, and since I do keep the pantry stocked with canned beans, this was the perfect opportunity to experiment. I grabbed some cans of kidney beans and knew with some simple conversions, I could turn those cans into a respectable red beans and rice.
The seasonings are pretty much the same as my regular homemade red beans and rice, though some of the methodology is a bit different. You can't just dump some canned kidney beans in a pot and call them red beans and rice, so you've got to build up some layers of flavor, since you're missing the nice, long stewing time. I gotta say, despite the shortcuts, these taste pretty darned close to homemade from dried beans y'all.
One thing. DO NOT add salt to these beans! There is plenty of sodium in the canned version of beans that you likely will not need any salt at all, but definitely do not add salt before you taste them. In fact, if you're watching your sodium, be sure to drain and rinse the beans, use low sodium chicken broth, and use a bit extra as needed. Rinsing canned beans before use removes most of the sodium.
Blue Runner brand kidney beans are excellent for this shortened version of red beans and rice, but any brand kidney bean and yes, even generic work very well. If you can't get your hands on the cream style kidney beans, just use three cans of regular.
I still have peppers coming in the garden so I used a couple of green chilies that I had picked the other day. I seeded and removed the ribs, and used them in place of some of the green bell pepper. It provided a nice gentle spicy tingle to the lips and taste buds, and did not disappoint. You can substitute jalapeno peppers to punch that up even more, or just use regular green bell pepper to keep it on the mild side.
I served our red beans and rice this time as a side dish with some yummy Maple Balsamic Glazed pork chops. Give those a try sometime!
For Lent: Make this Lent friendly by omitting the smoked sausage and bacon, substituting vegetable stock or plain water for the chicken broth, and bumping up the vegetables and seasonings.
Recipe: Shortcut Red Beans and Rice©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 servings
- 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 pound of andouille or other smoked sausage, coarsely chopped
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1/4 cup of onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup of green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup of celery, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 (16 ounce) cans of Blue Runner red kidney beans, undrained
- 1 (16 ounce) can of Blue Runner Creole cream style red beans
- 2 to 3 cups of chicken broth, as needed
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet or pot, over medium high heat, add the smoked sausage and cook until browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the bacon and cook until soft, but not browned. Add the onion, green bell pepper and celery, cook until soft. Add the garlic, basil, Cajun seasoning, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in the beans and enough of the chicken broth to reach the consistency desired; bring to a boil. Add the sausage.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through, and slightly reduced and thickened. Serve as a main dish over hot, cooked rice with a mixed garden salad or green veggie, or as a side dish with meat and a veggie.
DO NOT ADD SALT! Canned beans contain plenty of sodium, so you likely will not need to add in salt. At the end of cooking, taste and adjust. If you are watching sodium, rinse the beans well, and use lower sodium chicken broth, adding in a bit more if necessary. If Blue Runner brand canned beans are not available in your area, substitute a canned regular light kidney bean, mashing one can. Can substitute leftover ham for the sausage, or use both ham and sausage.
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