Easy Canned Red Beans & Rice: Comfort Food Shortcut
When it comes to comfort food, there’s nothing quite like a warm, filling, and satisfying bowl of red beans and rice. This Southern classic is steeped in history and tradition. But, for those craving the flavors of the Deep South without spending hours in the kitchen, we have an easy and quick shortcut to whip up this delicious dish in no time. There’s no need to soak and cook dried beans, as our recipe relies on easy canned red beans.
For a quick yet flavorful bowl of red beans and rice, follow the steps below, and let’s dive into the history and curiosities behind this comforting dish that has truly stood the test of time.
- 2 cans red beans (15 oz each), drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and green bell pepper, and cook until they’re softened, around 5 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic, Cajun seasoning, and dried thyme. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the drained and rinsed red beans to the skillet along with the chicken or vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the rice, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.
- Remove the skillet from heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped fresh parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, with your choice of accompaniments such as grilled sausage, chicken, or shrimp.
History and Curiosities
Red beans and rice is a quintessential New Orleans dish, deeply rooted in the city’s Creole and Cajun culinary traditions. This rich dish, typically served on Monday nights, traces its origins to West African, French, and Spanish influences in Louisiana.
Traditionally, soaking and simmering dried red beans was done on Mondays so that people could multitask as they did laundry. Using canned red beans, in this modern twist on the classic, gives a nod to our fast-paced lifestyles while respecting the history behind the dish.
The rice plays a critical role in this recipe, as Louisiana is one of the United States’ major rice-growing states. The unique combination of beans, rice, and flavorful spices reflects the melting pot of cultures in New Orleans.
Interestingly, red beans and rice has inspired famous songs, such as jazz legend Louis Armstrong’s “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours” and the popular Zydeco tune “Red Beans” by Clifton Chenier.
As you savor this easy Canned Red Beans & Rice recipe, appreciate the rich history, layers of flavor, and the cultural impact this humble yet delicious comfort food has had, both in the Deep South and around the world.