If you ever make a ham, or have a friend or family member make a ham, snag the bones and save them to create a pot of sheer delight.
If you have never experienced authentic red beans and rice, you are most certainly missing out. My recipe deviates slightly from traditional authentic recipes, but it is an absolute dream. And it is good for your body, too! These are LOADED with fiber and iron.
One issue of concern as I developed a good recipe was the fact that real red beans and rice utilize smoked sausage. Smoked sausage usually contains added nitrates…icky things we are better off not consuming. I investigated how to make my own smoked sausage and, while I’m always up for a challenge, it ain’t happenin’!
Fortunately, I found a company that makes sausage without the added nitrates and with only whole food ingredients. Woo hoo! Wellshire brand has 2 different flavors (that I could find…perhaps they have more), and they are scrumptious. The sausage and its packaging are pictured below.
- 1 lb dry red beans
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 large red pepper, chopped
- Garlic (to taste)
- 1 package Wellshire sausage, sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 ham hock plus other bones, preferably meaty bones
- 8 cups water
- Prepared brown rice
Rinse the beans and place them in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
In a dutch oven, stir together the olive oil, onions, celery, red pepper, and garlic and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sausage and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the bay leaves, ham bones, beans, and water and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat to low and lightly simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the ham bones. Pull any remaining meat from the bones, and add back to the pot.
Use an immersion blender to mash a portion of the beans. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can take a spoon and smash some of the beans to the side of the pan and stir.
Serve over brown rice. If you’d like, garnish with chopped green onions and have hot sauce handy for those that prefer an extra kick. I served mine with some sauteed mustard greens. Enjoy!
A half cup serving of beans served with 1/4 cup brown rice contains 240 calories, 12g protein, 39 carbs, 16g fiber (wow!!!), 8g fat, and 8mg iron (another wow!!!). A half serving (1/4 cup beans, 1/8 cup brown rice) with a handful of mustard greens blended with water was a perfect, nourishing meal for Bradley with a great fiber and iron boost.