Dirty Red Beans & Rice
This recipe is a classic case of dump, stir and walk away. Isn’t that what we are all looking for — a way get a yummy meal on the table without slaving over it ALL DAY LONG?! I know I have a list of things I would rather be doing & I bet you do too.
Trust me, this recipe really is that simple – so don’t let the list of ingredients make you think otherwise. I consider every single item in this recipe a pantry staple – meaning, I keep my pantry stocked with them at all times. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have the majority of these on hand as well — and if you don’t, time to make a run to the store. The items will make life easier ((and tastier too)).
Speaking of ingredients, let me get straight to them:
- dried beans ::
I like to have several varieties of beans on hand ((these are called scarlet runners)). I never have canned, only dry – this way, I can control the salt and flavors. Also, dried beans take between 5-6 hours to cook (@250°) in the oven and that makes it an easy make ahead meal. Keep in mind, different types of beans require different amounts of cooking time. ((Small beans may only need 2-3 hours whereas the type I used for this recipe needed every bit of 6 hours.))
- sweet paprika
- dried mustard
- Old Bay seasoning blend
- a no-sodium seasoning blend, like Trader Joe’s 21 ingredient blend or Mrs. Dash
- dried bay leaves
- kosher salt (((I prefer this type of salt due to the size of the flake))
- finely ground black pepper
- dark beer, like a stout or porter
- fresh garlic
- fresh tomatoes
- cooked sausage ((optional))
I hope a few things on this list surprise you – like the Old Bay & the beer!
I stumbled upon using Old Bay as a cajun spice blend substitute 5 or 6 years ago when I was desperately trying to boost the flavor of a dinnertime creation. Old Bay did a wonderful job of making my beans taste like my most favorite dish at Pearl’s ((a local Cajun/seafood chain in OKC)) — the red beans & rice! I have been using this simple seasoning trick ever since.
I just recently started experimenting with beer — IN MY COOKING ((haha)). I have to say, I have been delighted at the additional depth of flavors it has brought to my recipes. If you are like me, and know nothing about beer, I recommend going to your local liquor store and asking the clerk some questions. Local micro-brewed beers ((both light & dark)) are a great item to add to your pantry. Whether you are battering some chicken, slow cooking a beef stew or making some bread, I am learning beer can be a real help in your meal-making efforts.
For this recipe, I literally added everything to the pot, added water, covered and baked @ 250° for 6 hours.
30 minutes before dinner, I made a batch of basmati rice, grated some cheese, zested a lemon, chopped some parsley & BOOM!! – dinner was ready.
Once the beans are finished cooking, it is important to taste and adjust seasonings. I am not sure if it was the beer or the new variety of beans, but I detected a bitterness in that taste-test. 2 tablespoons of cane sugar and an extra pinch of salt toned that flavor down immediately, while leaving notable robust earthiness that could have only come from the added stout. IT WAS AMAZING. I am no Emeril, but with these flavors, maybe he will want my recipe?! ((just kidding — I know my place!))
A little garnish of some parsley, lemon zest and yummy new favorite purple pickled onions – and a hearty flavorful meal is served!
- 16 oz dried beans, something like a pinto or kidney
- 2 t sweet paprika
- 1 t dried mustard
- 3 T Old Bay seasoning blend
- 1 T no-sodium seasoning blend, like Trader Joe's 21 ingredient blend or Mrs. Dash
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
- 7-8 medium small fresh tomatoes, I prefer campari
- 1 12 oz can dark beer, like a stout or porter
- 1-2 t finely ground black pepper
- 2 T sugar
- 2-3 t kosher salt (((I prefer this type of salt due to the size of the flake))
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3-4 c cooked rice, I prefer basmati
- cooked sausage ((optional))
- Preheat oven to 250°. Place all "dirty beans" ingredients, except for salt, sugar and 1 t of pepper, into a 9 qt dutch oven, fill with water to 2-3" below the top of the pot. Stir to combine and place into oven, baking at 250° for 5.5 hours.
- 30 minutes before cooking time is complete, proper rice and garnishes. Remove beans from oven, taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, sugar, pepper etc and bring to a boil on the stove over medium flame, stirring continuously. Reduce heat, mash the beans slightly & allow to simmer for 10 more minutes in order for the liquid to thicken slightly.
- Serve over cooked rice, garnish with lemon zest, parsley, shredded cheddar & spicy cooked sausage if desired.
- Serves 10
- *add cooked spicy sausage as an optional garnish