Sausage & Bean Medley
Last night I pondered making another hearty pot of something hot - soup, stew, gumbo but I led my thoughts toward a favorite: seasoned southern red beans over hot rice with a couple of Cajun hot link sausages. Trust me when I say this is good eating. I had all the ingredients, just needed to get the beans soaking overnight for a delicious, steamy bowl for tonight's supper. Guess what, no problem with the sausage or rice but no dried beans in the pantry. Oops, must have used them up the last time I made my Red Beans & Rice.
I did find a bag of red Mexican beans, a half bag each of northern and pintos. Time to change plans. Second to none in my house is this recipe that we enjoy using three types of beans, three types of sausage along with the trinity of southern cooking. That's all there is to it, simple and downright out-of-sight in flavor. The beans soak up the wonderful flavors of the sausages along with the vegetable medley and the cooked down beans makes for one fine, hearty bowl of mouth-watering goodness. Don't just take my word for it, I have served this numerous times, even at Mardi Gras and folks always go back for a second, third bowl. It may sound like a lot of sausage, but trust me again, you'll want a piece in every bite. Enjoy!
Sausage & Bean Medley
makes a big ol' pot but it freezes well, you can reduce the recipe in half, but if you are like me & cooking anyway, might as well have leftovers or have a party
1 -16 oz bag dried Mexican red beans, Louisianan or small kidney
1/2 -16 oz bag dried Great Northern beans, Navy or white kidney
1/2 -16 oz bag Pinto beans
|sliced & diced grilled sausages|
2 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
1 -32 oz package Cajun smoked sausage (I like locally Conecuh brand)
2 -16 oz package smoked sausage like Hillshire Farms
1 -16 oz package hickory smoked sausage links (I like locally Royal brand)
2 large white onions, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, diced (or granulated garlic)
Salt if needed
Cooked white rice
Soak the beans over night. I like to, after rinsing several times in a deep bowl, place them in a slow cooker with the seasoning and top off with three times as much water. Place cooker on high for a couple of hours and then set it to warm. Go to bed and wake up the next day to soaked seasoned beans. I normally cook another hour or so on low to soften them up really good before I add them to the sausage mixture. (See also my stove-top/oven method for fast, 2-hr tender beans at the end of this recipe)
Now, cut the sausage in bite size pieces. I like to cut each variety in different shapes, thin slices for the Hillshire Farms, large chunks for the Cajun and the links I dice or cut into strips. In a large stockpot, place all the sausage and simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes stirring often to render out some of the fat (you can skip this if you grilled them). Remove sausage to drain and set aside.
Wipe any grease from the pot, add the vegetable and simmer a few minutes to sweat them tossing all while. Add sausage back to the pot and add just enough chicken stock to almost cover the sausage.
Drain the cooked beans, rinse if you feel the need (some say it helps reduce the 'gas' enzyme but the vinegar normally does it for me) and add the beans to the pot. Stir to incorporate, cover and bring to just a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until nice and tender. Stir gently every so often and add more stock toward the end if needed. Taste and add salt if needed, but remember the sausages have a lot of sodium. Remove a cup or so of beans at the end, mash in a bowl and return to the pot for extra creaminess.
Serve over hot rice with toasted French bread or my favorite, corn bread muffins.
Note: I sometimes will grill the sausages outside to bring out an even more intense smoked flavor, which is what I did today.