Endless variations are possible. The recipe calls for andouille sausage, but I've used bacon, Italian sausage, tasso, leftover ham, leftover pork chops, ground beef, ground turkey, chorizo, ham hocks, and no meat at all. Similarly, you can use any kind of rice (I've used regular, brown, and basmati). You can even swap in black-eyed peas for the red beans, bake the whole thing in the oven for 20 minutes or so, and you've got hoppin' john.
Cost: Cost: dried beans, maybe $1. A package of andouille sausage, $4.99 (less if you use a different kind of meat). Tomatoes, $3.59 for a bulk-purchase 102-oz can; half of that = $1.80. Rice bought in bulk, onions and garlic in bulk, everything else a pantry staple...say $2 for everything else. Less than $10 dollars total, for at least 6 and maybe 8 full servings. That's between $1.20 and $1.60 per serving, and you can whip this together in less than 20 minutes. - brokefoodie —brokefoodie
Test Kitchen Notes
Brokefoodie's take on red beans and rice is a tasty, hearty and forgiving dish (just check out the various meat/rice/no meat possibilities). The zesty tones of cumin, chili powder and cayenne led testers to dub this "chili"! I used bacon for the meat, adzukis for the beans, and reduced the generous 1 teaspoon of cayenne to 1/2 teaspoon since I'd added a few fresh whole hot peppers at step 3. Served with brown rice, creme fraiche and a cold beer, this was a winner in my house. The beans also reheated well for lunch at the office. Real value for money. - janecf —janecf
4-6 as a main course
red beans, cooked
andouille sausage, chopped
garlic cloves, chopped
green (or red) pepper, chopped
canned tomatoes (or 4 14.5-oz cans, with juice)
If you're using dried beans, soak them overnight. The morning before you want to make the dish, cook them in your CrockPot on low for 6-8 hours (pre-cooking them takes out all all the, um, undesirable effects of beans).
Slice the andouille sausage (or whatever type of meat your're using) and saute gently in a large skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.
Remove the meat, preserving whatever fat or juice may have leaked out into the pan, and saute the onion, garlic and pepper together for 3-4 minutes, or until soft.
Add the tomatoes, and mix well.
Add the seasonings plus bay leaf.
Add the beans, mix well, and stir the meat back in.
The mixture should be loose and relatively liquid. If there's not enough tomato juice, add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until the mixture resembles a stew.
Meanwhile, cook the rice.
Let the bean mixture simmer down over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, enough to let all the flavors combine. (You can make everything ahead of time, up to this step, and let it simmer on low for several hours if you need to (periodically adding liquid as necessary), or set aside and reheat later.
Pile rice on a plate, top with the beans mixture, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.