I keep trying to duplicate my mom's red beans and rice.
And I never, EVER succeed.
One of the perks of living in New Orleans for several years as a child was all the wonderful Creole and Cajun recipes my mom acquired. We were spoiled rotten on jambalaya, gumbo, beignets, pain perdu, King cakes and, my favorite, the red beans and rice.
But for whatever reason, I can’t make it just the way mom used to. I've failed every time. I even have her recipe and I can't make it work.
So in lieu of Mom's version, I try almost every other red beans and rice recipe out there. I love this one because it uses the crock pot, and it's a lighter version of the classic (which mom used to make a day ahead and refrigerate overnight so she could skim the fat solids off the following morning.)
You can even serve this one over brown rice to add a whole grain into your meal.
If you don’t want to use dried red kidney beans (which are less expensive), you can substitute canned red kidney beans without losing flavor or texture.
I add my hot sauce into the cooking ingredients and serve it on top, but you can omit or use either, at your discretion.
Readers: Do you have a favorite winter recipe? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
3 cups water (I added 15 ounces chicken stock)
1 cup dried red kidney beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 (14-ounce) package turkey, pork, and beef smoked sausage, thinly sliced (such as Healthy Choice)
1 bay leaf
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
Hot sauce, to taste
Combine first 12 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid; cook on high heat for 5 hours. Discard bay leaf; stir in salt. Serve over rice; sprinkle servings evenly with green onions. Serve with hot sauce.