16 oz dried small red beans
4 cups chicken or ham or seafood/crawfish stock
2 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 stalks celery (with leaves), diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cayenne pepper, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2-2 cups cooked crawfish meat (from about 2 lbs whole crawfish)
8 oz frozen diced okra
a few cups of cooked, white rice
In a large pot with a lid, soak the beans overnight. Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Fill with water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes*.
Drain the beans and add them to a 4 quart slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients from group #1. Stir. Cook on low 8-10 hours.
About 30-45 minutes before you would like to eat, remove 1 1/2-2 cups of the beans from the slow cooker. Pour them into a bowl and mash them with a potato masher until they are creamier but little chunks remain. Pour them back into the slow cooker. Stir in the ingredients from group #2. Continue to cook the 30-45 minutes until you are ready to eat. (If you don't want crawfish and okra in your red beans and rice, skip this step and just serve). Discard bay leaf and stir before serving over hot rice.
*Red beans must be cooked before serving in order to avoid kidney bean poisoning. It is not safe to skip the boiling step.
Serves about 8.
My thoughts:I get so many requests for "whole meal" slow cooker recipes this time of year and we are still getting peppers from our garden so I thought I'd come up at new recipe that would use up the peppers and use the slow cooker in a new way. As always, I prepped the vegetables, de-shelled the crawfish and fried the bacon the night before so the only thing I had to do in the morning was boil the beans and get the rice going in my rice cooker. If you don't have a fancy rice cooker with a "keep warm" setting, make your rice when you get home so it cooks while the crawfish and okra are cooking.
I've seen recipes for red beans and rice that call for ham hocks and that's probably more traditional but I think bacon works well here and is a lot less work; no need to pick meat off the bones before serving. It is a little unconventional to stir in crawfish and okra but I saw crawfish at the store again (I bought all that was in the display case!) and thought it would be a good addition and alternative to heavier sausage. The okra was added to make it more of a complete meal.. I like to mash some of the beans and return them to the pot because it makes the final dish so much more creamy. The end result: a thick, creamy, comforting, filling dish of New Orleans that is ready when you are.