Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Orleans Style Red Beans

Down in New Orleans, Monday is known for red beans, rice and laundry, though you can also do like me and make them on Saturday, while you catch up on Battlestar Galactica season 2. Either way, they're tasty, cheap and very good for you, and people REALLY do make them on Mondays, I would never joke about something so sacred.

Beans are cooked in a unique way here, we like 'em cooked down very soft with a nice thick sauce, which we call gravy. In order to achieve the right texture, you'll need to cook them for a long time on the stove or crockpot*, a pressure cooker is just not gonna work to get these to right consistency.

Also, try to find smaller light red kidneys if you can, and keep your eyes peeled for Camelia brand. That's what we all cook here, since they're packed locally and make very creamy beans. Serve red beans over your favorite rice with lots of hot sauce or pepper vinegar on top, or as a side with greens, rosemary oven potatoes and spicy seitan sausage.
Red Beans
Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 pound small, light red kidney beans
  • 10 cups water 
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, minced (to minimize spicy heat, seed and de-rib)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked salt, plus more to taste 
  1. Wash and clean the beans and pick out any debris. Soak overnight in your fridge in lots of clean, cold water to cover the beans by about 4". 
  2. Drain the beans. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water up to a boil. Add the beans and reduce heat to simmer, while you prep the vegetables.
  3. Throw all of the other ingredients into the pot, except the salt, and continue to simmer over medium-low heat for 3-5 hours. If the water reduces too quickly, add in a 1-2 extra cups of boiling water, as necessary to prevent the beans from scorching (don't add too much water, because it will prevent the beans from developing a thick gravy).
  4. Once the beans are quite soft, use a spoon to smash a few of them against the inside of the pot to help thicken the gravy.
  5. Add the salt, and season to taste with more, if necessary. 

 *When I make these in a crockpot, I set them up before bed and let them cook overnight and then part of the following afternoon. xo kittee


  1. Mmmm this looks SO good! Perfect comfort food!

  2. There are days when I really dislike blogger...let's try again :

    It's Monday, so I should probably get to making these beanies... they sound like what I need.

  3. Everything with chiptles is so good!

  4. Mmm, v tasty. I used to do vegan red bnz with some miso stirred in at the end, but these sound more yumsome with all the chipotle and salt-infused smokiness. Want now!

  5. Oh wow! I've totally be craving red beans and rice! Thanks :-)

  6. I'm becoming a bigger fan of beans every day. I'll have to add these to the list!

  7. ooooh i will definitely be making these.

  8. I love red beans and rice! Next time I'm down there, I'm so gonna stock up on those Camilla brand beans. I saw some on Amey's blog and got a little jealous. I was just down there year before last and didn't know about that brand then.

  9. Yummy beans! Can I still have them if I don't do my laundry?

  10. Love red beans and rice!!! It's been a while since I've eaten them.
    Guess I'll be putting this on the menu for this week

  11. In Finland, Thursday is for pea soup. Which is kinda the same, except I like your Red Beans a lot more!

  12. This looks great, but I think I'll be breaking the NOLA code and making them on a Wednesday night for Thursday's dinner...

  13. Mmm mmm! I need to make these with the beans you sent me!

  14. This would be so perfect in my belly with some brown rice, right now.

  15. These beans look great and I'm hoping to make them this week. I don't have any smoked you think I can use regular?

  16. delicious! i will be making them later...~tara

  17. Have you heard abouth this really cool new site, its called you just have to check it out. its a site for the vegetarian travelling abroad, you can find all kids of cool vegetarians restaurants world wide for when you travel. as well as veg news, and cool vegetarian recipes. you should totally send your recipes to them. check it out!!!!

  18. I'm making these in the crockpot right now. I started them last night (so they'd be ready for Monday dinner!) and it seems like a lot of water. Is ten cups too much in the crockpot?

  19. hi anonymous,
    i'm not sure how big your crockpot is, but i usually cover the beans by about three to four inches in the crockpot. you can always take some water out and add boiling water in later if you need more...


  20. Anonymous here again! What a doofus -- my name is Becky. Thanks kittee. I'll try that and let you know. It's a huuuuge crockpot (ugly mid-90's wedding gift but it works). Wanted to let you know that I really appreciate all your vegan greatness. Everything I've tried of yours had been great! Do you still have any Papa Tofu?

  21. Just made these last night and boy were they good! Thanks for the recipe.

  22. Thanks for the red beans recipe. Last summer, I ate them at a party and has been looking for an authentic recipe ever since. Now I will be able to make them myself. Thanks again.


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