Red Beans were brought to New Orleans from the Caribbean island of Dominica after the Haitian slave rebellion. Many of the plantation owners sought refuge in the other French possession of Louisiana. Over the years red beans and rice became a traditional Monday meal in New Orleans, cooked with the ham bones left over from the Sunday dinner.

I call this recipe Cripps Red Beans & Rice because I depart from traditional New Orleans style dish. The Cajuns typically leave out the sausage, and will eat it on the side. A lot of them prefer a real creamy version while I like to see the beans. They also add thyme, which I leave out. Some add other spices such as sage and basil. The truth is everybody has their own “style” and here is mine:

John Cripps Red Beans & RiceIngredients:
2 lbs. Camellia Dried Red Beans (I’m particular)
3½ cups Instant Rice, or equivalent slow-cook rice
Two Ribs Celery
1 Large Bell Pepper
2 Onions
3 Bay Leaves
1 can Rotel
1 lb. Sausage
1 tsp. Salt
3 tbsp. Bacon Grease
¼ + dash tsp. Garlic
Ham bone (if you have one)
Mucho Cayenne Pepper (I add afterwards for those who don’t like the heat)

Get to it:
– Place beans in a suitable size pot, and cover with water (remember beans will greatly swell…so choose a sufficient size pot).
– Soak overnight.
– Place in a pot for cooking, along with the bacon grease, and add just enough water to cover the beans.
– Finely dice the celery, bell pepper and onions, and add to the pot along with Rotel.
– Slice Sausage into coins, and add to the pot along with salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaves.
– Bring to a boil, then cut down to simmer.
– Cook for about two hours or until the beans are tender.
– Serve in bowls over cooked rice and mix in well.

John Cripps Red Beans & RiceSome variations:
– Sauté your onion, bell pepper and celery in the bacon grease beforehand.
– Alternately cook your meal in a crock pot all day long.
– If you want a creamier consistency, mash some of the beans on the side of the pot with your stirring spoon and let them cook longer. The Cajuns also add butter at this point.

Lastly, don’t forget the hot buttered cornbread! It’s against the law in Mississippi to serve homemade red beans and rice without cornbread.

John Cripps Red Beans & Rice