This is the ultimate in thriftiness and convenience - beans in a slow-cooker. The long, slow cooking time coaxes all the flavor from the sausage into the beans for a mild yet full-flavored dish. You can also cook in on low heat for 8 hours.
3 cups water
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 freshly ground 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
1/4 cup chopped green onions
How to Make It
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.
I've made crock-pot red beans and rice many times using this as a guide. There is no question that the recipe, as followed, will yield very bland, and not very tasty red beans. I have manipulated the recipe many times over and still have not found a fix, but I do some things that make it a heck of a lot better:1) Double the recipe--unless you're a small family of light eaters who don't want any leftovers. When I say double, I mean approximately. For instance, double the dried beans to 2 cups, maybe even 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups. Instead of doubling the water, I use about 9 - 9 1/2 cups of liquid. This includes a 32 oz. container of chicken stock and about 5 - 5 1/2 cups water. You need the additional water because when it's done cooking, you will need to separate the beans from the other ingredients (peppers, celery and sausage) in order to mash some of the beans into a paste. (It helps to remove the liquid, too, in order to see exactly how much you've mashed. Use a potato masher or pastry blender tool. This is MANDATORY or your dish will have the consistency of broth. You don't want that. It must be thicker. You will probably need to mash 1/2 - 3/4 of the beans. That is why I add the extra 1/4-1/2 cup of dried beans...so that you can have the thicker consistency and still have a fair amount of whole beans. You want it thick but not extra thick, because when it cools and is refrigerated, it thickens even more.2) Don't use the ground red pepper (cayenne pepper) at all. Especially, don't double it--that is way too much. I cook for kids, also, so the cayenne powder is just not tolerable to them. Instead, I use Frank's Red Hot Sauce, which is made from cayenne peppers. It has a milder heat than Tabasco and is just more flavorful. I don't measure, I just shake it in until I think it's enough. For starters, if you're unsure, I would give about 8-10 good shakes into the pot. You can always taste it when it's done and add more then, or even just to individual plates. 3) Don't use the thyme. It adds an odd flavor to the dish, which really stands out. If you like thyme, I would suggest using half the amount recommended.4) Double the paprika, the black pepper, the bay leaves and the garlic. Even though using the chicken stock, which adds a fair amount of sodium, I would suggest still adding the full teaspoon of salt. You may even need more. This dish is bland if you strictly adhere to the recipe.5) I use about 2 1/4- 2 1/2 cups of each of the onions and peppers. Mix it up and try different onions. For the peppers, I will usually use a green bell pepper and either a red, yellow or orange pepper. I like the color it provides to the dish. I use about 1 1/2- 2 cups of sliced celery.6) I usually add cilantro (about a half a bunch freshly chopped) to provide more complex flavor. I love cilantro; some don't. It's worth a try.7) For sausage, the best (as far as flavor goes) store-bought sausage I have used is Johnsonville Andouille sausage. It also adds a little spice to the dish. If not that, then I suggest beef or pork smoked sausage. The low-fat turkey sausages have no flavor once cooked. Whatever sausage you use, I use two 13 oz. or 14 oz. packages.8) The last couple times I have made it, I have used my standard spices that I use when making Jambalaya and other dishes. I just pour them in my hand one at a time and mash them together finely over the pot. I would guess that it is about 2 Tablespoons each of oregano, basil and parsley, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of onion powder. It makes it better.If you still find the dish lacking, I would suggest using a smoked pork hock, smoked turkey leg, salt pork or smoked neck bones or bacon. These add a lot of flavor to dishes like soups and stews. Read how to prepare them first before adding to the pot, if necessary (for instance, you don't add raw bacon, you need to brown/cook it first). Most important: no thyme, no cayenne powder. Use Frank's Red Hot Sauce and mashing the beans is absolutely necessary.
I followed the recipe, except I used 1 can of chicken broth and then added enough water to make up the 3 cups of liquid. I also added cornstarch to thicken when it had been cooking for 8 hours.
My husband and I found this bland- added creole seasoning at the table to punch it up. (I didn't add any of the salt the recipe called for.)
I don't think I'll make this again. It's just not worth all the time put into prep.
I enjoyed this recipe. Reading other reviews I didn't have chicken broth so I added one chicken bouillon cube along with one 14oz can of diced tomato with no added flavors. Also added in one whole 14oz package of smoked turkey sausage. Left out the red peppers for my young son, but overall it turned out great. Will definitely make this again!
Making this for the second time today! We double the recipe so we can eat it all week. The only thing we add is some creole seasoning, and we omit 1/2 the salt. It's low fat and filling -- and we love the flavor. It's not incredibly intense, and would be better if we used andouille -- but we're trying to cut back, so it's perfect for us. Will make again and again!
Very flavorful! I can't understand where others have found it lacking in flavor. It was super-easy. Of course fresh ingredients (like green onions or parsley) freshen up any slow-cooker dish after it's cooked. Chicken sausage worked great. It's family-approved and nutritious. I'll definitely make this again.
Really tasty and easy. I used Cajun seasoning instead of thyme, smoked paprika and chicken andouille sausage. I also decided to throw in 3/4c frozen okra in the last 10 minutes. Not traditional, but still good!
Eat Well. Lose Weight. Live Healthy. Delicious and healthy recipes customized for you!