Red beans and rice

By Katherine

It needs a little more pork, like a rack of ribs or something

One of the quintessential Louisiana dishes we managed not to have on our trip to New Orleans a few months back was red beans and rice. So when we saw chef John Besh cooking up a big pot recently on television, we just had to have some. We’re following his technique if not his exact recipe. (He didn’t give precise measurements or we were too busy drooling to take notes. Also, he used bell peppers and we were plum out as I say, which makes Greg laugh.)

This is one of those dishes Louisianans are pretty picky about and like crab cakes where we grew up have very strong opinions about. On his show, Besh said he was even told his red beans and rice weren’t up to snuff right after Hurricane Katrina hit and he other volunteers were serving hurricane survivors. So if any of you bayou folks want to offer pointers, we’ll understand. Pull up a chair and break out the Tabasco. Also, feel free to bring some shrimp or nice Andouille.

Red Beans and Rice

  • 3 cups dried red beans (small red or kidney)
  • 3-4 tbsp pork fat
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • hot sauce, if it’s not Tabasco we won’t tell
  • pinch cumin

Wash and soak beans for 4-6 hours or overnight. In a 6- to 8-quart stockpan, heat fat. Once melted and hot, throw in onions and let cook until tender stirring often, about 5-7 minutes. Throw in celery and cook until tender and water is released. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put ham hocks and beans in pot and stir to mix.Β  Add chicken stock and then enough water to cover the beans, with about two inches to spare. Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about two hours. Beans should be tender and the mix pretty creamy and the ham hocks should be falling off the bone. Add cumin and hot sauce to taste. Serve the beans in a bowl with the rice in the middle, or on the side if you’re rebels like us. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro or green onions. Serve with extra hot sauce.


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (low-sodium if using canned)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a two-quart saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic in melted butter until tender, but not browned. Throw in rice and toss to coat, just a minute or so. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dinner, Food, Recipes, Rice/Risotto and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Red beans and rice

  1. Leo Cotnoir says:

    With all due respect, without Andouille sausage it is not proper red beans and rice!

  2. Stefanie says:

    Oh yum, I love red beans and rice!! I made some a few months ago… definitely hits the spot for comfort food! And I’m sure homemade beats Zatarans any day :p

  3. nrhatch says:

    I love beans and rice together ~ filling, full of fiber, low in fat . . . and YUMMY!

  4. BrainRants says:

    You nailed this exactly right. Right down to the smoked ham hocks and chicken broth for the rice. I’d recommend a slow cooker to allow all the meat to fall off the bones, though you’ll get more fat that way.This one is a keeper.

  5. Yuri says:

    Beans and rice are part of Dominican Republic’s national dish. I’m not a rice person but I often crave the red bean stew our cook used to make when I was a kid. You have given me an idea to post her recipe. They look just like these πŸ™‚

  6. Come on now — y’all know you got to have green bell pepper. Got to have it. We know y’all can cook shrimp ‘n’ grits an’ all that mess and fix yo’ fine juleps, but you got to have bell pepper — would you make crab cakes without, I dunno, bread crumbs?

  7. Courtney says:

    We usually do Jamaican red beans and rice, which is a whole other dish entirely. This looks really, really good – and a great alternative.

  8. A_Boleyn says:

    The plate looks yummy. πŸ™‚ What did you do with the ham hocks cause I couldn’t identify them?

  9. samology says:

    This looks so hearty and delicious! But yeah, the more meat, the merrier! πŸ˜€ Looks great! And I also love my rice cooked with garlic! It’s the best!

  10. foodtable says:

    Looks yummy to me! I didn’t have this either the last time I was in NOLA, so this is a definite dish to try next time.

  11. Tandy says:

    not having tasted the real version when I was in Louisiana, I will say yours sounds perfect! Enjoy your weekend πŸ™‚

  12. One summer we rented a house in New Orleans for 3 weeks. Nice neighborhood in the Garden district. We ate out everyday one or two meals and the third, I cooked in the house. Some how, our very friendly neighbors across the street decided we weren’t getting enough to eat or maybe not “good” food and started sending food over to the house. We had the best beans and rice ever!

    It took us 3 months to lose the weight πŸ™‚

  13. Ah, it’s been awhile since I’ve had good red beans and rice. I’ve had to make do with Popeye’s fast food version.

  14. Well I’m not from the bayou but I can remember my grandmother making this dish, along with others. I think you guys did a wonderful job with the recipe. And for some strange reason, I now want Kielbasa.. don’t even ask :).

  15. niasunset says:

    Seems so delicious and this is one of our favurite dishes. But sure, there is little diffeerences… Beautiful photograph. Thank you dear Katherine, with my love, nia

  16. Now that is going to get served up here in the Vendee – nice recipe for us faint hearted semi vegetarians.

  17. rutheh says:

    Your post evokes a memory for me of eating Red Beans and Rice in New Orleans in a restaurant called Dick and Jenny’s where they have all these cool china plates on the wall. I remember the dish as being more “wet” than I envisioned when I ordered it. Your photographs are always enticing.

  18. ChgoJohn says:

    I really do like red beans and rice! Seeing the ham hocks in the recipe makes it a winner, for me. They bring so much flavor and I frequently use them in heartier soups.

  19. This is not your ordinary rice and beans, I see you added some pork fat and ham, I bet it tastes amazing. I love simple dishes.

  20. “I love you once, I love you twice, I love you more than beans & rice”. A line from the movie “Pretty Baby”.

  21. Linda says:

    I’d love to pull up a chair and dig in, thank you! This looks wonderful. I’ve made many trips to New Orleans never being disappointed in their food!!

  22. Looks just like Indian vegetarian recipe. Very healthy.

  23. Maureen says:

    I haven’t had red beans and rice since I was in New Orleans and that was years ago. I need some tonight!

  24. Karen says:

    New Orleans food is so good and your beans and rice sound terrific.

  25. Looks so good and tasty! This will be a good recipe to try out on my sister next week! Her daughter is taking classes two nights a week in neighboring Danville. My niece drops my sister at my house and picks her up 4 hours later – giving us an opportunity to spend some time together (and I get to try out new recipes on her) – and gives my niece company for the hour and a half drive to and from their home!

  26. egg me on says:

    Oooo weee! These look fantastic. The beans looks so saucy, and I bet they’re so spicy.

  27. This is a perfect Friday night meal, particularly after the gross snow storm we are having…I love hot sauce, no matter what the name! Have a great weekend Katherine.

  28. Gorgeous and although I love pork, I think this lloks great without. Cumin with red beans is such a good mix!

  29. The perfect food for this time of the year and one of our favorites. Have a good weekend.

  30. JamieAnne says:

    Yum! These look great!

  31. I’m sure my attitude isn’t very acceptable to many regional partisans out there, but one of the things I absolutely love about food is that there can be a thousand truly fabulous ways to make one particular dish. This looks to me like a mighty tasty version of red beans and rice, and if it ain’t old-school faithful to someone’s particular bit of the bayou, why then that’s just hunky dory with me. I’ll eat this right up any day.

  32. Caroline says:

    I’ll take that entire plate please. πŸ™‚ Looks fantastic! Rice and beans are such a great staple. I could eat them every day…well close to.

  33. I make this sort of thing regularly, but never put ham hocks in. Time to change that I think…

  34. Oh, my! Being from the Boston area, we serve our beans differently, but this looks like a spectacular crockpot (slow cooker) recipe….

  35. Amy says:

    I’ve never actually had red beans and rice…is that pathetic? This looks great. I may try this for a meal soon as Nate loves his vegetarian dishes! And i don’t think he’d be opposed to my throwing a little bacon in the mix πŸ˜‰

  36. Sounds nice, and while I haven’t had the original, I agree that some sausage would go nicely in this. But even without it I’d be happy to have it for lunch. Right about now.

  37. Stef says:

    I love that you garnish your plates; that little touch makes it look like a ‘proper’ restaurant meal!

  38. aFrankAngle says:

    I love this dish!

  39. I haven’t had red beans and rice in such a long time. My mom loves it and makes it a lot, but I never have…am feeling inspired now, thanks!

  40. nancyc says:

    I love red beans and rice–I will need to try this!

  41. Asmita says:

    I must make this for my daughter who loves beans and rice This recipe looks great! Healthy and so delicious.

  42. I feel like a cowgirl.. Tasty Southern fare! Yum. BAM

  43. I wonder if I could get my hubby to eat this…
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  44. Kristy says:

    I don’t think we’ve eaten from Louisiana yet. I’m going to keep this one in mind when we do. πŸ™‚

  45. You know something Katherine…this picture just doesn’t taste right to me. Something is off. πŸ˜‰

    JK…good work you two.

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  48. Scott says:

    We add 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper to the onions & celery. Then during the last 2 minutes of the initial cooking of this “trilogy,” we add a 1 tbs of diced garlic with a 1/2 tsp each of thyme & sage with 1 tsp each black & white ground pepper (salt to taste: 2-3 tsp), and cook these 5 spices before adding the beans, ham hocks and stock. When the beans are done, using two folks we flake some of the ham hock meat on a cutting board and add that back into the beans. Yes, creamy describes the final dish.
    My Cajun grandmother in New Orleans would have been proud of you!

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