(Adapted from a recipe originally published in the April 2003 issue of Cooking Light)
5 – 6 servings
(Can be doubled and cooked in a 6-quart slow cooker to serve 10 – 12. )
1 cup dried small red beans (or red kidney beans)
3 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
¾ cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ham hock (about 1 pound)
1 bay leaf
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound sausage (I used Cajun Chicken; Andouille would be great)
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
¼ cup chopped green onions
1. The night before cooking, rinse the beans, and cover with plenty of water. Cover the pan or bowl and let them soak overnight at room temperature.
2. The next morning, drain the beans. Combine them with the 3 cups water, onion, bell pepper, celery, thyme, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, ham hock, bay leaf, and garlic in a 3½-4 quart slow cooker. Set on High.
3. After about an hour, lower the heat to Low. Let cook all day, for 9 – 11 hours.
4. Remove the ham hock from the beans and set aside to cool a bit.
5. In a small skillet, cook the sausage until done. Slice and add to the beans.
6. Add the ½ teaspoon salt to the beans.
7. Remove the meat from the ham hock and cut in bite-sized pieces; add back to the beans.
8. Remove the bay leaf. Serve with the hot cooked rice; garnish with the green onions.