Red beans and rice is an ultimate comfort food! No need to go to Louisiana because you can make it at home. In this recipe, we’ll show you how to make hearty red beans and rice with ham hocks and kielbasa sausage to warm up your dinner. Slow-cooked in cajun seasonings, you’ll surely crave for this dish every time.
How to Make Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hock and Kielbasa
There are a lot of variations in cooking red beans and rice. Some like to keep it simple, while others add more protein. But however you make it, it is imperative to add the holy trinity required in all Cajun and Creole cuisine, celery, onion, and green bell pepper. Traditional red beans and rice recipes use andouille sausage, which is a common ingredient in Cajun dishes. Andouille sausage has a spicy and smoky flavor that adds punch to red beans and rice.
In our recipe, however, we use ham hock and kielbasa sausages. Ham hocks are usually cured with salt and smoked, giving any dish notes of bacon flavor. They’re not as meaty as bacon or pancetta so they’re perfect for slow-cooked meals. With a long cooking time, the liquids will dissolve the collagen and fat surrounding the hocks as they cook. This makes your ham hock soft and tender in texture while giving off a rich and savory flavor. Moreover, slow-cooking the ham hock actually provides a rich stock base for your beans and soup. The beans will absorb the amazing flavor of the ham hocks, so you get even more of the incredible meaty taste with every bite.
Kielbasa, meanwhile, is also an excellent addition to this dish. Just like andouille, it has a chunky texture and strong garlicky taste. But despite its sharp flavor, it is actually not spicy, unlike andouille. As it is not spicy, it is a great alternative for people who can’t take the heat of andouille sausages.
What Goes Well with Red Beans and Rice?
This red beans and rice recipe is already perfect on its own. But you can always take your dinner to the next level by pairing it with something else. Are you thinking of what side dish to pair your red beans and rice with? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
You can pair this dish with Fried Green Tomatoes. This side dish is crispy on the outside and tender inside, which complements your red beans and rice perfectly. They’re easy to make and you even make them while you’re waiting for your red beans to cook.
Another dish you can pair with red beans and rice is Ratatouille. This popular French dish is full of flavor from the Mediterranean vegetables and rich red tomato sauce. Since this red beans and rice recipe is packed with smoked meats, having a vegetable side dish will balance your meal.
If you want a simple side dish, you can never go wrong with a simple green salad. Do you find it a little boring? Sweeten it up by adding mandarin oranges to your salad and toss it in a vinaigrette dressing.
How To Make Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hocks and Kielbasa Sausage
- 1 lb red kidney beans
- 6 ham hocks
- 14 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups celery (finely chopped)
- 2 cup onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cup green bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp tabasco sauce
- 1 lb finely chopped (cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces)
- 4 1/2 cups hot cooked rice
- Cover the beans with water, with an allowance of about 2-inches. Let it stand overnight.
- After letting your beans rest overnight, drain the water. You may also leave it covered, bring it to a boil, then let it stand for 1 more hour.
- Place the ham hocks, 10 cups of water, all the celery, all the onions, all the bell pepper, all the bay leaves, and the rest of the seasonings in a 5 1/2 quart saucepan. Then cover the pan and bring the contents to a boil over high heat.
- After the pan’s contents start boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour until the meat becomes tender. Afterward, remove the ham hocks and set aside.
- Add in the beans and 4 cups of water to the pan. Bring it to a boil once more then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, making sure to stir often. Then stir in the kielbasa and continue simmering for approximately 30 to 45 minutes until the beans start to break up. Make sure the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the meat from the ham hocks and add it to the saucepan. Continue to stir for 10 minutes more or until the ham is warmed enough. Afterward, serve and enjoy!
How To Make Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hocks and Kielbasa Sausage
We give the classic Louisiana dish a twist by using ham hocks and kielbasa for rich and savory flavor. This red beans and rice recipe will surely warm up your dinnertime.
Cover the beans with water about 2 inches above the beans. Let it stand for 8 hours to overnight.
After soaking the beans, drain the water and rinse the beans with cool water. You may also leave it covered, bring it to a boil, then let it stand for 1 more hour before draining and rinsing the beans.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and brown the kielbasa sausages in batches for about 3 to 4 minutes, then set aside.
Place the ham hocks, water, celery, onions, bell peppers, bay leaves, and the rest of the seasonings in a 5 ½ quart saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the contents to a boil over high heat.
Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour until the meat becomes tender. Afterward, remove the ham hocks and set aside.
Add the beans to the pan. Bring it to a boil once more then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, making sure to stir occasionally so that the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Then stir in the kielbasa and continue simmering for 30 to 45 minutes until the beans start to break up. Mash the beans until broth thickens.
Remove the meat from the ham hocks and stir the meat back into the saucepan. Continue to stir for 10 minutes more or until the meat is warmed enough. Afterward, serve and enjoy!
If you don’t have a ham hock, you can substitute the water with equal amounts of chicken broth.
You easily turn this into a canned red beans and rice recipe (make use of related keywords) by substituting the dried beans with 3 cans of canned beans and reducing the amount of water used by half.
- Calcium: 134mg
- Calories: 714kcal
- Carbohydrates: 16g
- Cholesterol: 214mg
- Fat: 46g
- Fiber: 5g
- Iron: 5mg
- Potassium: 1155mg
- Protein: 57g
- Saturated Fat: 17g
- Sodium: 675mg
- Sugar: 6g
- Vitamin A: 765IU
- Vitamin C: 71mg
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I need to soak the red beans overnight?
No. If you’re pressed for time, you can do the “quick soak” method for 1 hours. For every 2 cups of beans, add 10 cups of water and bring to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let the beans soak in a covered pot at room temperature for 1 hour. Soaking the beans will help reduce the cooking time and improve their textures.
Can I use different sausage for the red beans and rice recipe?
Yes, you can. If you can’t get ham hocks and kielbasa, you may use the traditional Andouille sausage, a smoked pork sausage from France. Other types of smoked pork or beef sausage will also work fine, too. Keep in mind, however, that the flavors from the sausage you use might alter the overall taste of the dish. But red beans and rice is versatile, so feel free to experiment with your protein.
Can I make this red beans and rice recipe vegetarian?
Yes. Most of the ingredients in this recipe are plant-based, so it will be easy to make it vegetarian. If you don’t eat meat, simply remove the ham hocks and kielbasa from the recipe. Take note that as ham hocks provide a rich flavor to the dish, if you choose to omit them, you should substitute the water with vegetable broth. You can also replace the sausages with meat-free alternatives such as a veggie or tofu-based sausage.
Our version of a hearty red beans and rice will satisfy your cravings for the popular Louisiana dish. Red beans and rice with ham hocks and kielbasa may take time to perpare and cook, but the result will be worth the wait.