The Creole classic used to have to simmer all day, but you can do it in an hour.

By Margaret Eby
March 29, 2019
Gwenael_LE_VOT/Getty Images

When I was down in New Orleans earlier this month for Mardi Gras, I ate a whole lot of red beans and rice. The week before Mardi Gras is always a blur of parades, parties, costumes, and king cake. I was always grateful when a friend or a friend of a friend offered up a hot bowl of rice with a pile of red beans and sausage on it. Traditionally, red beans and rice is made on Mondays, because Sundays meant ham, and scraps of ham and ham bones go really nicely with red beans. You could put a big pot of red beans to simmer all day while you ran around doing washing up or other chores, and at dinner time, you'd have a comforting, hearty meal that stretched a little bit of leftover meat into a meal that could feed a family. 

When I got back from Mardi Gras, I found myself craving red beans and rice. But because my Monday are usually spent in an office, rather than hanging around the house, I wondered if there was a quicker, after-work way to have the read beans and rice come together. I usually use my Instant Pot to cook dried beans, because it cuts out the time of soaking and slowly simmering them, and I figured that I could do something similar with red beans. 

And, yep, it sure does work. Using the Instant Pot, a dish that would take you all day—or at least the better part of an afternoon—takes only about an hour, most of that hands off. This red beans and rice recipe is a little bit soupy at first, but the more you mash the beans and let it sit, the more it thickens up. If it's much too soupy for your taste at the end, you can always strain off some of the liquid. 

What's great about red beans and rice is that it makes a lot of food for relatively little money. I ended up eating red beans and rice for lunches all week, and still had a couple portions to spare when friends came over. It's a fairly low hassle meal to make for a group, and people can spice it up as they like with hot sauce. It's just the thing for a drizzly day or chilly spring evening. 

Get the recipe for Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice.

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