Monday, October 8, 2012

Skillet Red Beans and Rice

A quick skillet version of red beans and rice, made with canned kidney beans, the Trinity of vegetables and cooked with instant rice.

Skillet Red Beans and Rice

It's Monday and in this part of the Deep South, red beans and rice are a traditional Monday meal, so yes, this is yet another way to consume those favorite Monday red beans!

Now, I'll be the first to say that these are not traditional. The best red beans and rice are gonna come from a soaked dried bean that is slow stewed for a couple of hours on top of the stove. Hands down, that is my preferred method, even above the shortcut red beans and the slow cooker red beans, both of which are actually delicious too. But, even working from home now, I get stretched for time too.

Like many of you, I have been a super busy wife and mom, constantly on the go and purely exhausted a lot of the time. For more than 30 years of my life, I worked outside of the home, out in the corporate world, and the last job came with plenty of stress and a long, 60-mile round trip daily commute. So, yes, I can relate to the craziness that comes with getting a homemade supper on the table for your family. This skillet method was definitely one way I managed, because I could fix dinner in a hurry.

Instant rice isn't a product that I usually keep stocked in the pantry these days - but I did back then. It really is a great time saver for dishes like this, but... what is it exactly? It's really just rice that has already been precooked and then dehydrated. Since cooking it requires only that you re-hydrate it, it cooks much quicker, in at least half as much time as regular white rice. Like any other convenience product, it costs a little more, but with rice being so central to our diets down here, it's certainly a handy helper in the kitchen - especially for those busy weeknight mealtimes - and it performs beautifully for dishes just like this.

The main difference between these and my recipe for shortcut red beans and rice, is that those are made to mimic the long stewing ones to be served over hot rice, while these are more like the packaged type, where the rice and beans are cooked together - like a red bean jambalaya. You could also cook the beans without the rice though, and either stir in, or serve over, hot cooked rice. When I have leftover rice to use up, I have done the stir-in method.

Of course, these skillet red beans are not quite the same as long stewed beans served over rice, but it's hardy, filling, delicious, and, more importantly - quick and easy. Here's how to make my skillet red beans and rice.

I start off this recipe like I do with all of my red beans and rice, with prepping The Trinity of vegetables, onion, bell pepper and celery, so common to many of our Deep South dishes. I use green bell pepper the most, but had a garden red pepper that I needed to use up, so I used a combination of red and green this time.

In a tablespoon of butter or oil, saute the meats until lightly browned, about 3 or 4 minutes, just enough to develop a fond. I'm using a combination of bacon and chopped smoked sausage here. For more fire, use a good Cajun andouille, for less, use a basic smoked sausage or kielbasa.

Add the Trinity to that and cook about 4 or 5 more minutes, until the veggies are tender.

My camera had a few errors, so looks like it didn't like the next shots, but next you add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, another 2 minutes, then the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, pepper and bay leaf. There is salt in the meats and the canned beans, so I wait to add any salt later. Bring to a boil.

Add the drained and rinsed canned kidney beans. If you want a creamier result than that shown at the top, add in one additional can of beans, but mash them. Add them in here with the other two cans. Add the rice and stir everything together.

Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.

Here's what it looks like after it's cooked. Most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and fluff with a fork, or give them a stir if you made the creamy version. Here's where you need to taste and adjust the salt and other seasonings as needed to taste.

Serve immediately. This recipe is a great, basic rice and beans dinner and versatile enough that I've successfully varied the meats, canned beans and seasonings to come up with other meals too. Use your imagination and make some swaps for variety.

I have made this before using a can of mashed beans and leftover cooked rice. When the beans were done, I stirred in enough of the warmed cooked rice until it was at the consistency I wanted. Just experiment until you find the version you like the best!

For more of my favorite bean recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

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Recipe: Skillet Red Beans and Rice

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 10 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon of butter or oil
  • 1/2 pound of andouille or other smoked sausage, chopped
  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green or red bell pepper, or use a combination
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2 cups of chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 or 3 (15.5 ounce) cans of light or dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of instant rice

Heat the oil in a large lidded skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and bacon until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, another 2 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.

Add the beans and rice, stir together well, reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered for 10 minutes, or until rice is tender. Fluff with a fork, taste and adjust seasonings as needed; serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: Taste first before adding any salt. I recommend using a spicy andouille, Cajun style sausage or Alabama Conecuh, however, go light on the Cajun seasoning until you taste the dish. You may also substitute any regular, mild smoked sausage and adjust seasonings up, to taste. Leftovers make a great filling for burritos. This recipe is a great, basic rice and beans dinner and versatile enough that I've successfully varied the meats, canned beans and seasonings to come up with other meals too. Use your imagination and make some swaps for variety.

Creamy Variation: Add in one can of cream style kidney beans (like Blue Runner brand) with the other beans and rice or mash a third can of regular drained and rinsed beans (for a total of three cans).


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Posted by on October 8, 2012
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  1. You are still rolling out wonderful, deliciously looking and sounding recipes!! I am amazed....great work! I haven't been around for a while and it warms my heart to see you are still at it on the blogs! Thanks for being a regular...good stuff.

  2. Mary, thanks so much for sharing this recipe that I would never even have thought of to make. I still have a great passion for cooking, but I don't always have the energy. I have grandchildren who love to eat, and they're not very patient. I can throw this together in no time flat with a can of biscuits, and they're off my back!!

    Thank you so much!!

  3. Please keep posting recipes like this for tired Grandmas, Meemaws, and Nanas.

  4. I like the sound and looks of this! I'll be trying it soon.

  5. I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious. I used smoked sausage and regular long grain rice (added extra broth). Great dinner on a chilly night. I've made quite a few of your recipes and have loved them all. Your chicken pot pie is a family favorite! Thanks for all the great recipes.

  6. I've been on a big shortcut kick lately! I think it is the shorter and shorter days kicking in, don't you? I like these quick beans and will be making this soon.

  7. Mary, My big shortcut for anything requiring the "Trinity" is to buy the frozen seasoning packs that have the onions, peppers, and celery in them. Great timesaver and the only cut I'll get is from my scissors when I cut the bag open, haha.

    1. Yeah, those are great to have in the freezer for sure Georgia!

  8. This was very easy and delicious! Everyone loved it, the only thing missing were bread of some sort. Thanks so much, I will definitely be making this again!

    1. You're welcome Amandie! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back by and let me know that y'all enjoyed it.

  9. I have this simmering on my stove right now, and it was so easy! I used chorizo for the meat, added mushrooms, and used brown rice to make it gluten free. I didn't even measure anything because the framework just made sense. Thanks Mary!

    1. You're so welcome Samantha! I hope y'all enjoyed it too!!

    2. Samantha - all rice is gluten free.

      Plain rice — regardless of whether it's whole-grain brown rice, polished white rice, long-grained basmati rice or even exotic black rice — is always considered gluten-free.

      So is the form of rice called glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice or sweet rice. Despite the name, it doesn't contain the form of gluten that's dangerous to those of us with celiac disease or gluten intolerance; the term "glutinous" simply refers to the fact that glutinous rice gets glue-like, or sticky, when cooked.


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