feasting with friends

Red Beans & Rice

On a recent Sunday, Glenn and I spent the day cooking… a lot! Actually, the cooking commenced at 11pm the night before…

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We had Travis coming to dinner on Sunday and he was bringing a childhood friend with him who had been living out in Oregon for the last year. This friend is an enthusiastic eater and had been a guest at our table more times than I could count over 2 decades.

His return to Michigan meant we were gonna welcome him back in style. With lots of good eats!

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So…why start Sunday dinner at 11pm on Saturday night? There was brisket to cook! Beef brisket. Brisket with a homemade rub. Brisket to get in the smoker. Brisket that would cook for close to 18 hours! A damn good brisket.

Red Beans & Rice | feastingwithfriendsblog.com

When we serve a Southern style meal, I have a hard time editing. Editing what dishes NOT to cook. Well…this time I failed. I failed in editing…

Our menu consisted of smoked brisket, pickled red onions, macaroni and cheese, jalapeno corn bread, cucumber salad, cole slaw, slow cooked green beans and red beans with rice. Oh yeah, and a blackberry cheesecake galette, too (recipe coming soon).

Did I mention this was for four people…and that I made it from scratch? For the record… Monday was a wasted day…Oy Vey…

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But it was so darned good! Both Travis and his friends were sent home with doggie bags. Glenn and I ate well for a couple of days grazing on the left overs.(There’s even a bit of brisket stowed away in the freezer.) Everyone came out a winner!

Glenn and I cook up meals like this one about two times a month in the summer. But this was a “first” for one of the dishes. The Red Beans and Rice. It just so happens, Red Beans and Rice will be on the menu from this day forward. We LOVED it…in all it’s glory.

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It seems that traditional red beans and rice is served with the bean portion ladled over the rice. I like to mix them together. I actually add partially cooked rice to the beans to finish cooking. I feel the rice has more flavor this way. Traditional red beans and rice always uses andouille smoked sausage, as well. I stepped way outside the norm and used smoked beef  brisket instead.

But, to each their own… Serve it anyway you choose… you have my permission. 😉

Red Beans & Rice feastingwithfriendsblog.com

While searching for a recipe and the “how’s” of cooking red beans and rice I used many sources and made it up as I went along. The bulk of my recipe, however, came from one of my favorite cookbooks I own, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, Printed 1984.

Red Beans & Rice

  • Servings: 8-12 side dishes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


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For the Beans:
1 pound dry red kidney beans
water to cover the beans

1 Tablespoon canola oil
1/2 pound smoked bacon, sliced in 1/2-inch strips (I used thick sliced Applewood smoked bacon)
2½ cups celery, finely diced
2 cups onions, finely diced
2 cups green bell pepper, finely diced
10 cups water
3 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons Creole seasoning ∗
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 pound smoked beef brisket, cooked and roughly chopped
Optional, Tabasco or other favorite hot sauce to taste

Note: The Creole seasoning I use is a blend of salt, red pepper, paprika and other spices. Because of the salt content in the seasoning, I do not add additional salt.

⇒ For the Rice:
1½ cups converted white rice (NOT instant)
3½ cups water
1 Tablespoon butter


For the Bean Preparation
In a large pot (with a lid), cover the beans with water 2-inches above the beans.

Let stand coveed overnight (about 8-10 hours).

Drain just before using.

For the Beans
Heat the canola oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon, celery, onion and green pepper.

Saute until the bacon begins to crisp and the onions are just becoming transparent; about 10 minutes.

Add the 10 cups of water to the stock pot, along with all of the seasonings (bay leaves, creole seasoning, pepper, thyme, garlic powder and oregano). Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir in the drained red beans.

Simmer for 2 hours, stirring often. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Note: If the beans start to scorch, do not stir. Immediately remove from heat and change to another pot without scraping any of the scorched beans into the new mixture.


For the Rice
Place the rice, water and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes (about 1/2 cooked). Remove from heat.

To Finish the Beans
Add the 1/2-cooked rice and the chopped beef brisket to the beans, stirring to incorporate.

Simmer for about 30 minutes more, allowing rice to cook thoroughly and flavors of beef and beans to meld. Add more water, about 1 cup at a time, as needed. Red beans and rice should remain somewhat “soupy”.  Note: The photos included were shot on the day after the meal, hence the thicker consistency.

Serve in bowls with hot sauce offered to use, as desired.


  1. Wow! That looks like an amazing meal, Nancy! If I ever come to visit, I hope you fail in your editing that day, too. 🙂 Although, I wouldn’t put this meal and the word fail in the same sentence. The brisket, the red beans and rice, the cornbread, and galette, all sound and look so wonderful. I can see why Monday you didn’t do anything! 🙂 How great to have leftovers from this meal!

    • Lol, thank you Shari! If you ever come to visit, I would make this exact meal for you…no editing at all! I’m still trying to figure out if I was tired on Monday from all the cooking, or maybe sluggish from all the carbs. 😉 Regardless, it won’t stop me from doing it all again.

  2. How I would have enjoyed all that you prepared for that meal, Nancy! What a feast! Very glad that you shared your recipe for red beans and rice. I love the combo and have been known to go to a neighborhood joint and order red beans and rice to go, nothing else. This is one dish that;s going on my “must make” list. I’ll be looking for red beans at the farmers market now. YUM! Thanks for sharing another great recipe with us.

    • It was a feast meant to share, for sure. It felt like a marathon of cooking, but the rewards were worth every hour spent in the kitchen! I don’t know why I waited so long to make my own version of beans and rice because I too tend to order it out (heck, I’ve even picked up a bowl of it at Popeyes when the craving hit). There’s a pork shoulder in the freezer begging to be smoked before Summer’s end, and this dish will definitely be on the menu too. Thanks so much, John!

  3. I just love to cook for good eaters and I know you do too, especially “guys” and sometimes I wonder where they put it! This is one of my brother-in-laws favorite dishes and I keep waiting for the chance to make it for him. I love that you put meat in it – makes it a little heartier for sure. Looks like a winner Nancy 🙂

    • It’s always more fun to cook for hearty eaters. I love when they walk away from the table groaning, hahhah! I was so pleased with the beans and rice, I won’t change a thing next time! Thanks so much, Judi.

  4. What a feast Nancy, your guest sure showed his appreciation by taking home a doggie bag 🙂 There are days like this when I too get lost in the kitchen and come up with several different dishes. Your efforts and flavorful meal definitely showed a wonderful end product. Well done! Love all the sides you served with that too. Oddly enough, yesterday I made a Cuban Pork roast, black beans and rice (instead of the red) and sauteed plantains. When I read your post, I thought “great minds think alike”. Would love to try your brisket recipe next 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

    • Thank you, Loretta. There’s a fabulous Cuban restaurant in Detroit and each time I dine there, I tend to order the meal you cooked up in your kitchen. I love beans and rice in all of its variations. Great minds indeed! 😉

  5. How wonderful to have youths at the table who enjoy eating. I love it. This red kidney rice looks pretty delectable! Although prepared differently, and use actual red beans (not kidney beans), Japanese have a red bean rice which is only served on an auspicious days. To greet the youth who was once a regular at your dinning table is auspicious enough! 🙂

  6. Oh what an amazing menu – and as long as you had fun making it and all enjoyed – that is so wonderful! What a wonderful treat for your guests! LOVE IT!

  7. Oh wow Nancy, what a wonderful menu you have here. No wonder this friend keeps coming back Who wouldn’t???
    The rice and beans dish looks so tasty. It brings back such good memories from a trip to New Orleans. Thanks for that! 🙂

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