I returned this week from my monthly work trip to New Orleans, and came back to even more rain and chilly weather in Los Angeles. We’re all complaining about it because we’re just not used to this weather and so the only way to get through it is to stay indoors and make some soup. No one knows how to drive in this city when it rains. This hearty and delicious 30 minute red beans and rice soup gets the job done. Inspired by the classic Cajun dish without all of that time and effort to make. All you need is half an hour and you’ll have a great home cooked meal that’ll warm you right up in no time.
We’re going to start by browning the sausage in a bit of oil and butter. Make sure to give it a stir every now and then so that the sausage browns on both sides. It should take about 3 minutes or so to brown.
**Note: I’m using an andouille sausage which is a delicious Cajun sausage used in Jambalaya and in the classic red beans and rice. If you can’t find it for some reason, a smoked Portuguese sausage would work fine as well.**
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage onto a plate and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and bell peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. If you like things super spicy, you can also add a diced jalapeño at this point.
**Note: The mixture of onion, celery and bell pepper is known as the holy trinity in Cajun cooking, much like onion, carrots and celery is known as mirepoix in French cooking. It’s a great base for a lot of recipes!**
Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and cook for another 2 minutes to develop the flavor of the seasonings.
Add in the ham hock, the browned sausage, beans and chicken stock. The ham hock in red beans and rice is used to impart so much flavor to the dish. It adds a nice smokey meaty flavor and so I like using it in this soup as well so that it tastes as close to the classic dish as possible. If you can’t find it at the store, you can just skip it.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in the parsley right before serving. Give the soup a taste after that point and adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt, pepper or Cajun seasoning as needed.
At this point you can either serve the soup right away or allow it to come to room temperature and then store in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days or you can pop it in the freezer and freeze for up to 3 months.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cooked white rice and scallions.
**Tip: I love white rice and so that’s what I’m using, but if you want to make things a bit healthier, you can use brown rice instead or even something like barley or pearled couscous would be great here too!**
If you don’t plan on eating the soup right away, I recommend keeping the rice and soup separate until ready to serve. If you add the rice to the soup itself, it’ll soup up a lot of the broth the longer it sits and especially when you go to reheat it.
I like that this soup is very chunky and hearty, but if you want it to be “soupier” you can just increase the chicken stock by 2 cups and adjust the seasoning a tad.
I hope you’ll keep this soup in mind and add it to your weekday cooking rotation, especially on those days when you’re just too tired to cook. We all get that way at the end of the week and the last thing we need is to spend all night in the kitchen.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 andouille sausages, sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- couple dashes hot sauce
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 2 cans red beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1½ cups cooked white rice
- Set a large pot over medium high heat with the butter and oil, once hot, add in the sausage and cook stirring often, until browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage onto a plate and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and bell peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and cook for another 2 minutes to develop the flavor of the seasonings.
- Add in the ham hock, the browned sausage, beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in the parsley right before serving. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cooked rice and scallions. Enjoy!