Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice

10 servings
8 Hours 20 Minutes

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice is chock full of smoky sausage (add chicken or ham too), delicious creole cajun spices, veggies and healthy red beans. Perfect for Mardi Gras, or anytime you need some delicious comfort food!

I am all about easy, healthy, filling meals, especially with two teenage boys in the house! I love fast foods, no, not the golden arches type; I’m talking easy meals you can make lickety-split!


Like Honey Bourbon Chicken or Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken. But sometimes, I like it slow cooked, like when I am running kids to activities, PTO meetings, or just don’t want to be bothered to think about dinner-time.

I adore slow cooked meals, there is something about walking in the house when gone all day and smelling dinner ready and waiting as you walk in the door. Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice IS that meal! Don’t misread anything here, I love my Instant Pot, am infatuated with 30 minute meals, but I am not about to throw out my crockpot!

AUTHENTIC LOUISIANA RED BEANS & RICE

Are these authentic? Honestly, I have no idea, I have never lived in the south, but I sure have a lot of friends who do and besides; my family really, really likes this meal. So does it really matter?


Customize Red Beans and Rice

I am all about customizing flavors, spices, meats to what our family will eat!


For instance, the original recipe from Kylee Cooks, calls for smoked boneless pork chops and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper; I wouldn’t even know where to start looking for smoked pork chops (though you can replace with ham) and I am way too big of a spice wimp to use an entire teaspoon of cayenne pepper! Her recipe is great, probably much more authentic, but that’s what I am saying! Make it to your taste!


Ingredients and Suggestions

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3-4 ribs of celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or diced
  • 1 lb dried red beans, rinsed and sorted* (dried kidney beans, adzuki, pink or even black beans may be substituted)
  • 1-2 14 oz packages smoked sausage (andouille, kielbasa or other smoked sausage works great!), sliced into ½” slices (I use organic kielbasa or smoked sausage and usually double the amount cause everyone fights over the sausage)
  • 7 oz smoked ham chunks, or other smoked meat (optional)
  • 2 chicken breasts, whole (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons creole or cajun seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Cayenne pepper to taste, up to 1 teaspoon (I do a couple shakes)
  • 6 cups filtered, cool water
  • 4 cups cooked rice (white or brown)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RINSE AND SORT BEANS

Rinsing we’ve got! Dump dry beans into a sieve and rinse with water! But the sorting, even the back of the package just says “sort”. So I did some research and here’s what I discovered.


During the packaging, debris can find its way into the beans, remove any sticks, rocks, dust or other debris, obviously! But also be on the lookout for funny smells (probably moldy), mold, shriveled beans, broken pieces, weevils (ew!), etc. If only some shriveled and broken beans they should be fine, just toss (sort) those out. If you smell something off, find something crawling or see any fuzzy beans, throw out (or return) the entire package. Once I have rinsed my beans, I toss onto a sheet pan and “sort” them.


MAKING RED BEANS & RICE

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil (or if you have a slow cooker to stove insert, do this in your insert)
  • Saute onions, celery until translucent and slightly golden, toss in garlic for the last minute until fragrant.
  • Add spices to onion mixture, stir for a minute to bloom the spices.


You may skip the sauteing step and toss the raw onions, celery, garlic and spices directly in the crockpot, but for me it’s worth the time, as it blooms the flavors and adds depth to the dish.

  • Place all ingredients into crockpot – slow cooker (except rice).
  • Pour about 6 cups water, enough to cover everything by about ½ inch.
  • Stir to mix everything, cover and set slow cooker on high between 6-8 hours or on low between 8-10 hours.
  • If using chicken breasts, add to crockpot about 4 hours before serving.
  • To thicken, use a potato masher and mash some of the beans, stir and cook an hour longer or so.
  • Taste before serving, adding additional sea salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Remove bay leaves
  • Serve red beans over bowls of cooked rice (white or brown)

WHAT DO I SERVE WITH RED BEANS & RICE

  • If you want to stay Southern, serve with collard greens and biscuits.
  • Make a nice big crisp green salad and serve with a loaf of warm French bread
  • We are kind of crazy about naan in this house, which is delicious to sop up all of the juice!
  • You could also try baking some delicious, hearty rolls like my Copycat Outback Molasses Brown Bread Rolls.


And if you happen to be looking for other fun, Creole types of meals for Mardi Gras coming up, then this meal would be perfect or this Instant Pot (or Stovetop) Jambalaya! Both guaranteed to please!

Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice

Recipe details

  • 10 servings
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes|Cook time: 8 Hours|Total time: 8 Hours 20 Minutes

Ingredients


Instructions


Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil (or if you have a slow cooker to stove insert, do this in your insert). Rinse and sort* dried beans, set aside.
Saute onions, celery until translucent and slightly golden, toss in garlic for the last minute until fragrant. Stir in spices to coat onion, celery, garlic mixture and stir for a minute to bloom the spices. Place all ingredients into crockpot - slow cooker (except rice). Pour about 6 cups water, enough to cover everything by about ½ inch. Stir to mix everything, cover and set slow cooker on high between 6-8 hours or on low between 8-10 hours.
If using chicken breasts, add to crockpot about 4 hours before serving and shred before serving.
To thicken, use a potato masher and mash some of the beans, stir and cook an hour longer or so. Taste before serving, adding additional sea salt and pepper, if needed. Remove bay leaves. Serve red beans over bowls of cooked rice (white or brown)

Tips

  • *Pour dried beans into a sieve and rinse with cool water well. Then sort through beans (see post for what you are looking for) and remove any broken, shriveled beans. Once I have rinsed the beans, I toss onto a sheet pan and "sort" them.
  • Make a nice big crisp green salad and serve with a loaf of warm French bread
  • You could also try baking some delicious, hearty rolls like these Copycat Outback Molasses Brown Bread Rolls.

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