16 oz dried red kidney beans
4 cups chicken
2 stalks celery (with leaves), diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 fire-roasted Hatch Green Chiles
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
3 chicken andouille sausages, sliced into 1/4 inch coins then halved
a few cups of cooked, white rice
pan-fried catfish is good too
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 at least 10 minutes* or up to 20.
Drain the beans and add them to a 4 quart slow cooker. Add the stock, celery, onion, garlic, peppers, thyme and bay leaf. 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.
Brown the sausage on both sides in a nonstick skillet. Stir into the beans. Continue to cook the remaining 30-45 minutes. 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.
My thoughts:I love going to Costco around Memorial Day because they suddenly have heaps and heaps of sausage. This time they had some chicken andouille that looked good. I normally use regular andouille but I thought chicken might lighten up what can be the heavy dish of red beans and rice. I know lots of people thinking using a pot and simmering all day is the way to make red beans and rice but I don't find it gives better results than the slow cooker which has the added advantage of my not having to be around to watch and stir it all day. I used some Hatch Green Chiles I had prepped and frozen but you can use canned instead or another variety of fire-roasted pepper for a similar effect.
I know it seems odd to use the slow cooker in late May but I like to use it more now than any other time of the year. I became convinced of this when I spent a summer developing the recipes for my first cookbook. While I love stews and whatnot in the winter, the slow cooker is also great for other times of dishes in the summer and it doesn't heat our old house up like stovetop cooking does.