Because I shared my mom's secret recipe with "Better Than Your Mama's Chicken and Dumplings", it is now time to divulge a secret recipe of my dad's. We grew up eating my dad's famous cajun red beans and rice twice a month at least in the cold months; I still remember how excited and proud I was when I was FINALLY old enough to stand on a chair and sauté the onions, this quickly became one of "our things". We spent many a Saturday evening watching Notre Dame football over a bowl of this stuff and y'all, it is fairly easy, quick, and very tasty.
2 tbsp cooking oil
Medium onion - diced
2-3 cloves garlic - crushed or finely diced (I use minced garlic)
2 bay leaves
.5 tsp black pepper
.5-1 tsp cumin (to taste)
.5-.75 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
1 lb kielbasa sliced in .25 in medallions and then cut in half (little moons)
1 cup diced cooked ham (optional)
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (optional)
2 cans light red kidney beans (DO NOT DRAIN)
1 can dark red kidney beans (DO NOT DRAIN)
1 can diced tomatoes
Cooked white rice (long grain)
In a heavy 6 qt pot or cast iron dutch oven heat oil over medium to medium low heat.
Add onions and saute until translucent.
Add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes stirring continuously.
Add spices and bay leaves and continue stirring and cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Add kielbasa and stir until kielbasa starts to sweat, then add ham and chicken if desired.
Add beans and tomatoes and stir until fully incorporated. Lower heat to med-low and cover.
Cook for about 20 minutes, remove lid and cook additional 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaves before serving over rice.
With the weather (unfortunately) staying chilly here in Cincinnati, I know I will be enjoying this family favorite at least a couple more times in the near future!