The simple, but thoughtful gift consisted of a bag of dry red beans, with a recipe card attached by a pretty bow.
I was immediately intrigued and when I tried the super simple recipe, my husband raved about it. And so it became a regular part of our menu repertoire.
Gifts that keep on giving like that are truly the best kind.
Now, I want to mention that the original recipe name on the card was Louisiana Red Beans and Rice. I have no idea if this is any kind of authentic recipe from that part of the country or not, but I have stuck with that name here.
I hope it is not an insult to Southern cooks anywhere. That is definitely not my intent.
The original recipe also called for ½ pound of smoked sausage. I have never used that in my version, and I don’t think it’s necessary, but by all means add it if you would like. It can be cut up and stirred in along with the beans.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes 6-8 hearty servings
Prep time – Approx. 25 minutes
Start to finish time –Approx. 35-45 minutes
(depending on whether you have rice already cooked)
Total recipe cost – Approx. $5.50
Total per person meal cost with salad – Approx. $1.25
About 4-5 cups of cooked brown rice
1½ cups of uncooked brown rice
3-4 15-16 ounce cans of red kidney beans or red beans, undrained
1 large onion
3 stalks celery
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
3 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce (more or less to taste)
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
(Optional) - 1 bunch of fresh, flat parsley
(Optional) – ½ pound smoked or hot sausage
Recipe continues after photos.
- If using uncooked rice, pour 3¼ cups of water into a medium saucepan and add 1½ cups of brown rice. Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes until the rice is firm/tender, not mushy.
- Peel and dice the onion and set aside.
- Wash and dice the celery and set aside with the onions.
- Wash the red and green pepper and dice. Set aside separate from the onions and celery.
- Peel and chop or mince the garlic. Set aside with the diced peppers.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or pot with a lid for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the celery and onion to the oil and cook until onion is just translucent (about 5-8 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the peppers and garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the Worcestershire and hot sauce to the vegetables, and stir. Cook for about 1-2 more minutes. Add the bay leaves.
- Partially drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
- Add the beans and the salt and pepper. If using any sausage, add it now. Add some of the reserved bean liquid to the desired liquid level.
- Cover and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes or longer. This recipe definitely benefits from longer simmering.
- While the beans are cooking, wash and chop approximately ½ of the parsley, if desired.
- Just before serving, remove the bay leaves from the beans.
- Ladle the beans, with their liquid, over a portion of hot rice, garnish with the parsley, if desired, and serve with a side of tossed salad and an optional fresh bread.