Serves a Crowd

Cajun Red Beans and Rice au Vin

December 29, 2009
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4-8
Author Notes

In 1983, I met a colleague who loved "cajun" food and was so excited when he found out that I was from New Orleans that he had to share his. I still have the yellowed piece of paper with the recipe written out in his handwriting with brown ink. I made some variations according to my taste, and you can certainly vary it to yours. He used something called "salt meat," which I was never able to find. I usually use the bone from a baked ham, but andouille sausage makes a good substitute. (Or you can leave the meat out and make it vegetarian.)

This can take all day to cook. Red beans and rice is traditionally served on Monday--wash day--when it could be put together in the morning and left to simmer while the rest of the house chores were being done.

Use small red beans or large kidneys. I like the small ones. If you don't like things too hot, a teaspoon or so of red wine or sherry vinegar at the end is a nice substitute for the Tabasco. As my friend wrote at the end of the recipe, "This be good yeah--I guarantee." —drbabs

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a great spin on red beans and rice! I have been to New Orleans many times over the years and, no matter where we go, I always get a bowl of red beans and rice. Usually I make my version with our homemade tasso or some locally-made andouille. This version is so rich with the broth and wine alone that you don’t need the additional meat. The recipe also works well in the pressure cooker. I did a quick soak on the beans then proceeded with the recipe, cooking on high pressure for 30 minutes. After natural release, I uncovered and simmered until thickened, about another 30 minutes. I’m sure this would be equally wonderful with red wine (I’ll try that next time). Both my husband and I really enjoyed this and plan to make it over and over again! - Helen's All Night Dinner —Helen's All Night Diner

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound red beans, washed well. You can soak them overnight and drain them well. If you do, this will cook in an hour or two instead of overnight.
  • 1 bone from baked ham. If you don't have a ham bone, slice up some andouille sausage. Or you can leave the meat out and make it vegetarian.
  • 1 cup white wine (it can be inexpensive table wine, but don't use "cooking wine.")
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (or 3 to 5 sprigs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
  • 4 cups cooked white or brown rice
  • 2 scallions, chopped fine
  1. If you're using andouille, heat a dutch oven on medium high heat, and add the andouille slices (you can make them smaller if you prefer), stirring till they're starting to brown and some of the fat has rendered. Remove the andouille with a slotted spoon and set aside. Put the rest of the ingredients except for hot sauce, rice and scallions in a large dutch oven. Make sure the water level is 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the level of ingredients. Cover and cook on low till the beans are soft and the liquid has begun to thicken. (This could take several hours. You can also make this in a slow cooker.)
  2. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. If you used a ham bone, remove that too, but cut the meat off the bone and put it in the pot with the beans. With a wooden spoon, mash some of the beans against the side of pot to make the dish creamier. Stir in the andouille if using.
  3. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. You may want to add some cayenne and a few sprinkles of hot sauce. depending on how hot you like it.
  4. Serve over rice with extra Tabasco or vinegar if desired. Garnish with finely chopped scallions.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • JanetFL
  • Helen's All Night Diner
    Helen's All Night Diner
  • lorigoldsby
  • wssmom
  • theicp

12 Reviews

Brenda D. March 9, 2021
This was delicious! I needed to add a little more heat with white and Ghost peppers, just a bit. My thing was that my sauce didn't thicken as expected so I will have to work on that correction. Perhaps more bean mashing or a touch of roux may help. :-)
drbabs March 10, 2021
So glad you liked it, Brenda.
JanetFL October 13, 2014
Barbara, I'm guessing that your colleague was referring to "salt pork". Can't wait to give your this a try!
drbabs October 13, 2014
You're probably right. Hope you like it!
Westminstress April 16, 2014
I'd like to make this, but I'm a little worried that my dried beans won't soften if cooked with wine from the beginning ... i have very freshly dried beans and I intend to cook them in a regular pot without presoaking. Can I follow the recipe as written or would you add the wine later? Thanks!
drbabs April 17, 2014
It's pretty forgiving. I think it will be fine either way.
Helen's A. June 3, 2011
Great job w/ this drdabs! We really enjoyed it!
drbabs June 3, 2011
Thanks so much, Helen! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
lorigoldsby May 26, 2011
Congrats ! I can hear your friend's voice...gar auhn teee. I agree.
wssmom May 19, 2011
I love how you can adapt the recipe to what's on hand! Perfecto!
theicp December 31, 2009
This sounds delicious!
drbabs January 1, 2010
Tastes good too! In Louisiana red beans and rice is the traditional meal for Monday night--cooks all day while you get your washing done!