Thursday, July 7, 2011

Red Bean Gumbolaya

As I mentioned in a previous post, I enjoyed a fantastic trip to New Orleans a few months ago. The city was beautiful, the people were full of life, and the food was outrageously good. The spirit of the city was so infectious and my memories so fond that I thought it was high time I try to recreate my New Orleans experience at home.

I meant with FOOD of course!!

While in New Orleans, I enjoyed (among other things) red beans and rice, gumbo, and jambalaya. To this day, I don't fully understand what the hell the difference is between the three. They all tend to involve a reddish stew mixture with pork and Cajun seasoning served with rice.

So, in typical Cooking for One fashion, I picked bits from recipes of all three traditional dishes, threw it in a crock pot, and called it a day. Thus was born my Red Bean Gumbolaya, and it is quite possibly one of the most delicious things I have ever made (if I do say so myself).

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  • 4 Andouille sausages. These are delicious smoked pork sausages you can find in your grocery store. They add that authentic New Orleans heat without being too spicy (cause I am a wimp, after all)
  • 2 large handfuls of diced frozen chicken. No need to thaw. This makes it super easy, but you could also just dice up a couple of raw chicken breasts as well.
  • 2 large handfuls of frozen shrimp. See above.
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small bag frozen cut okra. Very traditional southern veggie!
  • 1 quart chicken broth. This means four cups.
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes in juice. Do not drain.
  • 1 can red kidney beans. Drain.
  • 2 tbsp. garlic
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning. Or more if you like it hot!
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Hot cooked rice. Optional. You can either stir it into the mixture for a more jambalaya-like dish, or lay a bed of it underneath.
Yeah, I know this seems like a ton of ingredients and a ton of Red Bean Gumbolaya. But these are all easy pantry and freezer staples, and it is so yummy you will for sure want leftovers!

Of course, if you have a smaller slow cooker or just don't want to make so much, feel free to adjust quantities accordingly.


Get your Lorena Bobbit on and slice up your sausage. The easiest way is to slice them in half lengthwise and then cut them into half moon shapes. Peel and dice up your onion as well.

Now, dump all your remaining ingredients (EXCEPT FOR THE RICE AND THE SHRIMP) into a large slow cooker. Stir to combine everything.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. During the last half hour, stir in your frozen shrimp and close the lid again.

Once the shrimp are heated through, spoon your Red Bean Gumbolaya over hot cooked rice and enjoy! See, only three steps! They don't call New Orleans the Big Easy for nothing ;)