• Red Beans

Red Beans and Rice

By John Besh - - Jul 10, 2013

Time is the key to making successful red beans: they need to cook slowly and well. Using flavorful fat is another secret. Just as my grandmother did, I keep the fat from every batch of bacon I make, and I save the fat that solidifies on the surface of chilled chicken soup and roast chicken drippings, too. Just a little bit adds big flavor.

From “My New Orleans” by John Besh/ Andrews McMeel Publishing


Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes


  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tabasco
  • 3 cups cooked Basic Louisiana White Rice (recipe below)


1. Sweat the onions, bell peppers, and celery in the rendered bacon fat in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat.

2. Once the onions become translucent, add the kidney beans, ham hocks, bay leaves, and cayenne, then add water to cover by 2 inches.

3. Increase the heat and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and allow the beans to slowly simmer for 2 hours. Periodically stir the beans to make sure that they don’t scorch on the bottom of the pot, adding water if necessary, always keeping the beans covered by an inch or more of water.

4. Continue cooking the beans until they are creamy and beginning to fall apart when they’re stirred.

5. Remove the ham hock meat from the bones, roughly chop it, and add it back to the pot of beans.

6. Stir in the green onions and season with salt, black pepper and Tabasco. Serve with white rice.

Basic Louisiana White Rice

Makes about 4 Cups

The recipe will work with most long-grain rices, including Popcorn Rice. Save some of the fat skimmed from your chicken stock to perfume the rice with many wonderful flavors.

1 tablespoon chicken fat, extra-virgin olive oil, or butter
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 cups Louisiana long-grain white rice
3 cups Basic Chicken stock (page 13)
1 bay leaf
1-2 pinches salt

1. Put the fat, oil, or butter and the onions into a medium saucepan and sweat the onions over moderate heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and salt.

2. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.