Do you think “exotic” or “romantic” when you think of beans? Probably not. They’ll always be considered peasant fare. But when they’re left to stew and simmer in aromatics like onion, garlic, sausage and the like, they’re transformed into something rich, yummy and more luxurious than simple legumes. And this recipe for Red Beans and Rice is a great meal to keep warm in a slow cooker and feed to your football fan crowd.
Dried beans are a bit more trouble than canned because of the soaking, but if you get in the habit of soaking a package every weekend, you’ll have plenty of beans to use in stews and soups or eat on their own with some cornbread throughout the week.
Soaking Is a Snap
Overnight-soak: Rinse and check beans. Remove any discolored or broken beans. Place in large bowl with cold water and let stand overnight. Use 6 cups of water for 1 pound of beans. Drain and proceed with your recipe.
Quick-soak: Rinse and check beans. Remove any discolored or broken beans. Place in large pot with 6 cups cold water. Cover, bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain and proceed with your recipe.
Dried beans may be peasant fare, but they’re still warming, satisfying and delicious.
Red Beans and Rice with Kielbasa
1 pound dried red kidney beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups hot cooked white rice
1. Rinse beans. Place beans in a large bowl or Dutch oven. Cover with water by several inches. Let soak overnight.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add kielbasa and cook until browned on both sides. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook until onion is tender. Drain beans and add to pan. Add chicken broth and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add parsley, salt and hot sauce.
4. Cook beans until tender, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Add more water if needed. Serve over hot rice. Serves 8.
Per serving: 390 calories, 6g fat, 30mg chol., 22g prot., 61g carbs., 9g fiber, 790mg sodium.
Photo by Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn