Red Beans and Rice
When I took this dish for lunch at work the next day, a colleague commented on how delicious it smelled.
‘Wow, what is that?’ She asked.
‘Red beans and rice,’ I told her.
Her face fell. ‘Oh. I thought it was going to be something much nicer.’
I had to laugh because she was wrong, wrong, wrong! Red beans and rice is a delicious, old school Southern American dish that is easy and cheap to make – and she should have been nicer about it because I sure won’t make it for her now!
I made this in my slow cooker, but you could make it on the stove. I also made it with bacon, but you could make a vegetarian version without it – just omit the bacon. The smoked paprika is really important. You could used regular paprika and still get the lovely colour and sweetness, but the smoked paprika obviously provides the element of smokiness that adds that extra delicious element. It is very easy to find at supermarkets and is not expensive.
This made a big pot and I believe I still have some in my freezer to disappoint my colleagues over lunch.
3 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed – $3
1 red onion, sliced – free
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced – free
6 slices short cut bacon, diced – $2
1 teaspoon mustard powder – 5 cents
1/4 teaspoon chill powder – 1 cent
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika – 2.5 cents
2 tablespoons tomato paste – 44 cents
3 sprigs fresh thyme – free
2 bay leaves – free
1.5 cups water
Place everything in the bowl of a slow cooker and mix to combine. Turn on low and cook for 6 hours. Serve with hot rice, grated cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.
Total cost: $5.52
Per person (serves 8): 69 cents