Red Beans and Rice Recipes With Cooking Tips

A Variety of Recipes For This Great Combination

Beans and rice from the Caribbean
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Red beans and rice is a delicious and popular Louisiana dish, traditionally served on Mondays using the ham bone left over from the previous Sunday's ham dinner. Red kidney beans are most often used, but many purists feel the flavor is too strong and use the small South Louisiana red beans.

According to The New Orleans Cookbook, baked ham should be used rather than country ham or smoked ham. They also recommend pickled pork or salt pork (if using salt pork, eliminate other salts in the recipe).

An excerpt from The Picayune Creole Cookbook:
"In all the ancient homes of New Orleans, and in the colleges and convents, where large numbers of children are sent to be reared to be strong and useful men and women, several times a week there appear on the table either the nicely cooked dish of Red Beans, which are eaten with rice, or the equally wholesome White Beans a la Creme, or Red or White beans boiled with a piece of salt pork or ham."
-The Picayune Creole Cookbook, 1900

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Red Beans and Rice Cooking Tips

  • Salting the cooking liquid for dried peas and beans tends to slow cooking and toughen the beans. Salt should be added after they're cooked.
  • When using dried beans in the crockpot, cook until tender before adding other ingredients. You may cook in plain water overnight (about 6 to 8 hours) on low, then drain and add recipe ingredients in the morning. Follow package directions for water amount.
  • Simmer, don't boil. Boiling can cause the liquid to overflow and can cause the beans to break apart and the skins to break off
  • For softer beans, cover the cooking pot.
  • Test doneness by tasting. They should feel smooth yet firm and not mushy. Or, gently squeeze a bean between thumb and index finger - if the middle is still rather hard, cook them longer.
  • To reduce the risk of flatulence, change the water two times or more during the soaking process and once after the beans have simmered for 30 minutes.
  • As soon as beans have cooked, drain the liquid to prevent further cooking (unless the liquid is part of the dish).
  • Refrigerate leftover beans for up to 5 days to be used in salads, soups, etc.
  • Dry bean yields: 1 pound = about 2 1/2 cups uncooked; 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups cooked.